Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Burnt out

Disaster, catastrophe, calamity-the English language doesn’t seem to have a word adequate to describe the devastation caused by the bushfires.
“Worse than Ash Wednesday” is not a phrase I ever expected to hear in my lifetime but at 173 dead (as of this morning, the number is expected to climb) and entire towns burned completely off the map, there are no other words that come close to encapsulating the tragedy that’s unfolding here.
What makes it all the more incomprehensible was that the fires were expected-it is after all, summer, the temp had been above 40 degrees every day and we have been in drought for 12yrs-and prepared for but they came on with such speed and ferocity that there was no hope for those caught in their path.
I am overwhelmed with relief to be able to report that my brother, his family and their home are all safe. I fervently hope that you can say the same for your loved ones.
There was a sad nostalgia when I saw the news last night. My grandmother’s previous home (she moved in with my mother late last year after suffering from a stroke) no longer exists. It, along with many of the surrounding houses and the local shop, were reduced to ashes. I could barely believe the news crew were standing on what would have been her driveway.
A number of my cousins were evacuated. They are all fine but are yet to discover whether or not they have homes to go back to.
We are truly blessed to have lost nobody.
And though I never thought to say it I’m damned proud of the government response. Both local and federal. No bullshit, no hesitation, just send in the army to back the CFA and hand over cash to those who don’t even own the blankets they’re wrapped in (even the liberals have shut up for a minute about deficits and payouts).