About Bushfire Victims'
The number of people killed by the devastating Black Saturday bush fires that swept south-eastern Australia last week has climbed to 189, but police warned the figure would rise, possibly to beyond 300.
Members of the Victorian police force's Disaster Victim Identification team have spent days searching through the rubble and ash of fire-ravaged towns for anything that can identify those caught in the blazes.
In many cases very little, except small amounts of DNA and pieces of jewellery, remain. Police then have the painstaking task of cross-referencing the DNA with the long lists of missing persons.
On Friday, Brendan Sokaluk, 39, was charged with arson causing death in relation to the deadly Gippsland fire, which devastated 39,000 hectares in the Latrobe valley, east of Melbourne, and remains out of control. The arson charge relates to 11 of the 21 deaths. He was also charged with deliberately lighting a bush fire and possessing child pornography.
Public anger over the worst bush fires in Australia's history remains high. Mr Sokaluk was moved from Morwell, where he was questioned by police, to a cell in Melbourne for his own safety. As the van carrying him pulled out of the town, enraged locals pounded on the doors and yelled abuse.
The Australian government announced a national day of mourning on Sunday to honour the victims of the Victorian bush fires.
The former Governor of Victoria, and Appeal Fund Chairman, John Landy, has thanked the Australian public for their generosity and has given assurances all donations will go to those who need it.
Brian Naylor, Moiree Naylor
John Wilson, Sue Wilson
Mackenzie “Macca” Buchanan
Penny Chambers, Melanie Chambers
Jorja Davey, Natsha Davey, Alexis Davey, Robert Davey
Prof. Robert Pierce
Stuart O’Gorman, Carolyn O’Gorman, Alan O’Gorman
Dr. Chris Towie
Judy McIver, Greg McIver, May McIver
Mirrabelle Brown, Adrian Brown, Matthew Brown, Brielle Brown, Eric Brown
Graham O’Shea, Debbie O’Shea, Child O’Shea, Child O’Shea
Alan Jacobs, Luke Jacobs
Nathan “Charlsy” Charles
Lloyd Martin, Mary Martin
Carol Holcombe, David Holcombe
Donate now to the Red Cross Appeal
The death toll in the bushfires in southern Australia has risen to at least 171 people, as rescue workers moved into towns devastated by the fires.
Firefighters continued to battle more than 20 major blazes early on Tuesday as the state fire authority in Victoria warned of more possible flare-ups across the region.
More than 300,000 hectares (741,316 acres) have been burnt and 700 homes destroyed with eight large blazes still being fought, the state’s Country Fire Authority said on its Web site.
Some of the fires eased on Monday but thousands of firefighters and soldiers continued to battle dozens of blazes across an area of about 3,000 sq km across the states of Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.
Mitchell said firefighters in the affected areas were facing problems because the wind was switching around, making the fire change direction.“Out there it has been hell on earth,” Victorian Premier John Brumby said in a televised address. “These fires though are not finished. We have strong winds across the state and the fires will continue to burn for days and communities will continue to be threatened.”
Two weeks of record temperatures and hot northerly gales across the southeast of the continent made conditions over the weekend worse than in February 1983, when 75 people in Victoria and neighboring South Australia died in the so-called Ash Wednesday fires. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has deployed the nation’s army to help firefighters in Australia’s second-most populous state.