Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Every Victorian, every Australian will know someone

I can't help but check the temperatures, read the latest updates and listen to the stories. I wonder about those I know, those I have met over the years, those who survived, those who didn't. I hardly dare make any phone calls to see if people are ok, to see if the blaze missed them, or if they got out in time.

As the days roll on I am reminded of friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, friends' family members and my family's friends who live in these areas. We will all know people who have been affected, who have lost their lives, their family, their friends, their homes, their pets, their livestock, their cars, their sanity, perhaps even their will to live. Each and everyone of us Victorians will know someone, directly, or indirectly.

I want to get on the phone, but I know how hard it must be to be on the receiving end of those calls - you spend more time answering the phone than picking up the pieces, more time reassuring everyone else than getting on with your life. Instead I scan the reports, the interviews, the photos and try and come to terms with what has happened. For once, this is not some far-away place, this is my home, these places have been my playground.

Here I can turn off the computer, put the paper away, shut down the radio and attempt to get on with my life. We have birthdays to be celebrated this week, work to go to and life to get on with - it needs to be that way.

But how is it there? How can anyone get on with their lives? How do you concentrate, sleep, eat, work, feed your kids, send them to school, how do you get up in the morning? And all the while be reminded every living minute of the tragedy that has so savagely ripped through our country. With fires still raging all around the state it is not over yet. And those who do have immediate family and friends affected can't possibly get on with their lives - help is needed to pick up the pieces, if there are any to be picked up.

And the irony of it all. While the fires still roar in the south, the north, already suffering from floods, continues to endure more rain and king tides. When will it end?

Today's articles in the Swedish press -
Opperation Pheonix to find those guilty
Australian authorities have reacted impressively quickly
The winds increase the danger
Rising temperatures a threat in Australia
Fire disaster is increasing in Australia
Australia hunting a murderer

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