Where: Melbourne, Australia
February 9, 2009 : Australia’s worst disaster in over a century, the bushfires could claim up to 230 victims. Bush* fires are common occurrences in the hot and dry Australian summer. This summer, the country has seen a severe drought and recorded temperatures as high as 47 degrees centigrade, as well as winds at speeds of over 90 km per hour. The fires have already destroyed more than 750 homes and an area of nearly 3,500 square kilometres. Twenty towns south of Melbourne fall in the disaster area.
While thousands of firefighters are battling the blaze, the police is carrying out investigations at every location where bodies have been found. Some of the fires that began on Saturday, February, 7, 2009 were definitely started by miscreants. Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd calls the fires “mass murder”.
Australia’s climate, and its hot dry environment, makes the country most vulnerable to climate change. Scientists say global warming created conditions that fuelled the disaster. A Greenpeace campaigner said the bushfires were “a terrifying window into life on a warming planet”.
*In Australia, the term ‘bush’ refers to any wooded area.