The coverage of Victoria’s devastating bushfires has just started to hit the rest of the nation.
With seventy six confirmed deaths, it is the worst bushfire disaster in our history. It is feared there could be dozens more.Â
A sign of the times perhaps but we have followed the tragedy through Twitter, a micro-blogging service where literally many hundreds of thousands of people can simultaneously contribute to an information flow.
realising that there are a whole lot of Melbournians who haven’t grokked the scale of the #bushfires.
Grokked be young person’s speak for understand.
And how true that statement is. We are just beginning to comprehend the dimension of this. The extent of the devastation. And the agony of individuals who’ve lost loved ones and all their worldly possessions. In some cases, just forty kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD, on the city’s outskirts to our north.
We are accustomed to summer bushfires to some extent. But not bushfires that kill more than seventy six people and destroy 700 homes, injuring hundreds of people. This is almost too much to process for many of us.Â
There are reports than much-loved former Nine newsreader Brian Naylor and his wife have not yet been accounted for.
We first heard of this via Twitter.
And while the Herald Sun and other mainstream news sources have done their usually brilliant work, it’s been Twitter that has stood out this time for us.Â
We all have one connection or another with the bush. Ours is with old stomping grounds on Mt Macedon (safe) and a dear friend’s hometown in Beechworth (currently safe but a very concerning situation for the towns around it). It’s the memories of those areas and the special people who live in them that bring this home to all Australians.
What can you do? Praying doesn’t hurt we always think. And pulling out the plastic could be helpful too.Â
Again sourced from Twitter:
Red Cross & PM’s Appeal Line: 1800 811 700 or click here
While the emergence of tools like Twitter is one of many reminders of us how much the world is changing, these awful bushfires are a test as ancient as there can be.
And of course it’s not just a test for those directly hit. But for all of us watching on in horror, a test of our generosity and decency and the capacity of our government/community agencies in helping those who need it most. In many cases, they don’t just need insurance money in a month or two, they need cash right now to ensure they have clothes to wear next week.
And last but above all else, we consider the bravery of those who fight the fires in the emergency services, risking their lives to save others.
The mind-numbing heat, the choking smoke, the terrifying noise and the randomness and speed of a bushfire makes it the most formidable of foes.
Those who go into this kind of terrifying inferno to keep us safe are a reminder that while we occasionally see glimpses of hell on earth, there are plenty of angels kicking around too.
God bless all of them.