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A Red and Tragic Destruction Scenes from Australia's Hell

January 4, 2020 - 21:52 Abu Dhabi time

One of the citizens decided to stay despite the fires
Abu Dhabi time

Today, Australia faces a real tragedy, raging fires, which devoured large areas of the country, killed dozens and displaced thousands, in a disaster that climate experts considered unprecedented.

More than 200 fires are raging in New South Wales and Victoria in southeast Australia, fueled by high temperatures and winds.

The death toll in the current fire season, which started in September, reached 23, including 12 in fires just last week, in addition to 500,000 wild animals.

By Friday evening, 16 fires remained burning in Victoria at the level of the state of emergency or evacuation, and 12 in New South Wales at the level of the emergency, in addition to 100 fires in other states. New fires started to burn, while others were out of control.

What exactly happens?

Dozens of fires broke out in New South Wales region of Australia in November, and spread rapidly across the continent, to become one of the most deadly at all.

The fires burned an area twice that of the country of Belgium, or about 15 million acres, to destroy more than a thousand homes completely, and caused hundreds of others damage.

As the fire intensified in the days leading up to New Years Eve, thousands of people forced to flee sought refuge in the beaches, near New South Wales and Victoria.

As for the smoke produced, it is another disaster, as the Australian capital, Sydney, recorded the worst pollution in history on January 1, with an "air quality index" 23 times higher than what is considered "dangerous air."

The smoke level reached hospital maternity rooms, stopped MRI machines, and caused respiratory distress for an old woman, who died shortly after getting off a plane.

The smoke even reached neighboring New Zealand, 1,600 km away, and sacrificed heavily on ice-covered mountain peaks.

Although fires broke out in all six states of Australia, New South Wales suffered from the worst, according to The Virg.

Nearly half a billion animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles, may have lost their lives in fires in New South Wales alone - a staggering loss whose real numbers may be more, according to University of Sydney.

Eight thousand koalas were killed, a third of the number of koalas in New South Wales, and about 30 percent of the natural areas where koala was raised were eliminated.


 Tragic Destruction

What is the relationship of climate change?

Storms are not new to Australia. The weather there is usually hot and dry, similar to conditions in the US state of California or the Mediterranean region.

But eucalyptus forests in Australia have a unique relationship to fire; In fact, trees rely on fire to release their seeds.

But the fires of this season are unprecedented, as it is an early fire season, and its size is very large at a very early time, very early, the weather feeding the fire is "historical", according to weather experts in Australia.

Extreme heat and drought increases the availability of flammable materials, which leads to a higher rate of fire, which ecologists have warned against for years.

"The truth is that this is the result of climate change - this intense heat, these extreme, highly volatile conditions that produce early season fires that we don't normally see in Australia," says Crystal University Professor of Fire Science at Idaho University in Idaho.

How to fight fires?

Australia is heavily dependent on volunteer firefighters, especially in the rural bush, where many fires are burning.

Fire response is highly dependent on societal efforts, compared to places like the United States that have a centralized fire management system.

The current crisis has led to some policy changes. When volunteers were absent from action to fight local fires, the Australian Prime Minister announced in December that salaries would be allocated to each volunteer, in an attempt to urge citizens to volunteer.

To reinforce the local forces, the Australian Army sent its planes and private ships, and also enlisted assistance from abroad, especially from the United States and Kun, who sent firefighters to fight the fires.

Experts stressed that under extreme conditions, there is not much that firefighters can do until the fires are extinguished.

Painful scenes

Academics have estimated that months of devastating fires in Australia's forests have killed nearly half a billion animals, according to a report released by the University of Sydney.

More than 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have died, directly or indirectly, because of the fires burning all over the country, said Chris Dickman, University of Sydney environment professor.

He added: "Some things will never return. Like nearly half a billion pets."

He continued, "The animals died either because of the burning flames or because of hunger and thirst. It is not easy to survive for long periods in these circumstances."

More than 10 million acres were destroyed by fires, while new fires erupt almost daily due to hot and stormy weather.

Exodus and broken hearts

The wave of displacement of the population continues with large numbers of "burnt states", and the authorities issued a "black warning" to the population: "Those who decide to stay at his house should not expect our help", indicating the extent of the suffering faced by the residents and the authorities in the face of the disaster.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the death toll in the current fire season, which started in September, was 23, including 12 in just last week's fires.

And the rural fire extinguishing service updated the fire warnings, repeating the same advice to those who could not leave and said: "It is too late to leave. Look for shelter because the fires are approaching."

On social media, residents posted pictures of the sky that were black and red because of smoke and burning fires, including pictures in the town of Malakota in Victoria, which evacuated about a hundred of its residents by the sea on Friday.

The Federal Government launched an unprecedented distress for the reserve forces in the army to support firefighters, and called for other resources, including a third naval vessel equipped for humanitarian relief and disaster relief operations.

More than a thousand residents and stranded tourists on the beach, due to forest fires in southeast Australia, arrived in Melbourne on Saturday, after a 20-hour trip on two ships.

Teenagers, couples, the elderly and families, as well as dozens of pets, arrived on board ships at Hastings Harbor, and were then transported by bus to two relief centers.

These ships carried residents who left their homes burning, and left their cities that they might not return to, in search of survival at any cost.



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