In pics: Nature's wrath — Inferno in Australia

Updated: Jan 09, 2020, 06:32 PM(IST)

Unprecedented temperatures across the continent have made this season's fires particularly deadly, killing at least 25 people and bringing apocalyptic scenes of fire and destruction to a total area the size of Ireland. Here is a glimpse into the damage caused to all that lay in the path of the Australian inferno.

Large-scale destruction

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged foreign tourists not to be deterred by deadly wildfires that have razed large swathes and sent smoke as far as South America, even as authorities fretted about renewed dangers ahead.

Morrison made the plea on Wednesday as he visited Kangaroo Island, a usually wildlife-rich tourist attraction off the south coast hit twice in recent weeks by blazes.


Rubble trouble

Thousands of holidaymakers in New South Wales and Victoria were stranded for days in towns with dwindling food and fuel supplies. Some were forced to shelter on beaches, dodging embers and watching flames creep ever closer.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Saturday that 3000 military reserves were called up, the largest in living memory, to tackle country's massive bushfires. 


Burnt to the core

"The scale of the fires is stretching resources on the ground and there are clearly communities that need additional help," Morrison added. 

To oversee the military's actions on the bushfire-crisis, a two-star general has also been appointed. HMAS Adelaide, a helicopter carrier, has also been deployed to carry out evacuations near the border of the states of New South Wales and Victoria. 


Too late to leave

The authorities earlier asked more than 30,000 people to evacuate Victoria state's popular East Gippsland region, adding that soaring temperatures and gusting winds would trigger three large blazes, cutting off the last major road still open.

The residents and tourists in the area faced being stranded as it now "too late to leave", Victoria Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said. The Victoria Emergency Management said that it was "not possible" to provide aid to all the visitors in that area. 


2,000 properties burned

The fires, that have been burning for months, have razed more than 8 million hectares of land across Australia. 25 people have been killed and thousands of homes destroyed.

Almost 2,000 houses have been confirmed destroyed in Australia's months-long bushfire crisis, as crews prepare frantically for more forecast danger. 


Daily life disrupted

More than 50,000 people were without power and some towns had no access to drinking water, after catastrophic fires ripped through the region over the past few days, sending the sky blood red and destroying towns.

"The priority today is fighting fires and evacuating, getting people to safety," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a media statement.


Nothing survives

Fires ravaging the island country have since September left over 25 people dead and destroyed some eight million hectares (80,000 square kilometers) of land an area the size of Ireland or the US state of South Carolina.


'Everything's just gone'

Just when John Aish and his partner Jenny Shea thought they had beaten the inferno ravaging their two properties in Australia's southeast on New Year's Eve, a roaring fireball came through forcing them to flee.

"We tried really hard. We thought we’d had it beat but the big fireballs came and I said, 'come on kids, we got to go'," Jenny told sources. "Everything’s just gone. We’ve got nothing," said John.


The Royals

Britain's Queen Elizabeth joined grandsons William and Harry on Saturday in expressing shock at the bushfires ravaging Australia, and sent their thanks to the firefighters who risked their lives to save others.

In separate statements from the three royal households, the family sent messages of condolences and support to "all Australians".

"My thanks go out to the emergency services, and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need," Queen Elizabeth, who is Australia's head of state, said in a statement. "Prince Philip and I send our thoughts and prayers to all Australians at this difficult time."


Loss of life, not just Human

Australia's bushland is home to a range of indigenous fauna, including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, possums, wombats and echidnas. Officials fear that 30 per cent of just one koala colony on the country's northeast coast, or between 4,500 and 8,400, have been lost in the recent fires.

Authorities have no exact figure on how many native animals in total have been killed but experts say it is likely to be in the millions.

The fierce wildfires raging across Australia have estimated to put up a death toll at nearly half a billion animals in one state alone along with the surplus damage that is increasing day by day. Not only it is severely affecting the country's unique flora and fauna but also, impacting the vegetation of the bushlands. Experts believe that it could take decades for wildlife to recover.


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