bushfire disaster

bushfire disaster

Made my donation to Red Cross, please donate so they can replenish the reserves spent on caring for effected people and fire fighters on the ground.

From the Australian Red Cross:

Red Cross continues to help thousands of people devastated by bushfires still raging across large parts of Victoria today, with many homes still at risk.

‘We are now hearing stories of people escaping fires only to watch their homes go up in flames in literally minutes,’ said Adam Dent , State Manager Emergency Services, Red Cross. ‘But we are also seeing incredible efforts from Red Cross volunteers, the fire-fighters, the SES and other agencies.’

‘All these people are doing an amazing job in some of the most trying conditions we have seen for years.’

Red Cross staff and volunteers are working at 20 relief centres to support people affected by the fires, including at Whittlsea north of Melbourne, where many people from the devastated township of Kinglake are currently taking shelter.

They are providing meals for fire fighters, police, and people in the relief centres. First aid volunteers are assisting emergency services personnel and other affected people by treating mainly fire related injuries like minor burns and smoke inhalation.

Red Cross personal support volunteers are providing practical assistance to evacuees, as well as emotional support, information and referrals to recovery services.

Sean Doherty from Kinglake described how every one of the 45 houses in his part of the fire ravaged township ‘were exploding — the houses weren’t burning, they were exploding’.

Other people at the relief centre described the speed and ferocity of the fires as ‘like nothing we had ever seen, it was terrifying.’

Mr Dent said hundreds of concerned people had called the Red Cross operated State Inquiry Centre for news of loved ones caught up in the fires, and thousands more had registered their details.

‘We’re not sure of the final impact as many of the fires are still burning’ said Mr Dent ‘but we know that people need our help now, and they will continue to need it for some time yet.’

bushfire disaster

bushfire disaster

Victoria had one of its worst ever day with bushfires yesterday.. some 96 people are now dead with 700 houses destroyed, people fighting to save their homes or fighting for their lives. 47C, drought and gusty winds created the worst ever situation on the ground with emergency services overstretched.

With losses still being assessed this bushfire tragedy has been declared Australia’s worst natural disaster.

The army is now helping out and I hope fires will be contained soon. What a tragedy. Meanwhile NSW also has raging fires and QLD has areas with record floods, how crazy.

The state and federal governments have established emergency funds for victims but donations are also needed to Red Cross or the Victorian Bushfire Fund.

Here’s a whole page on how you can help out.

flight home

flight home

Everything was right when I left Railey Beach on a speed boat and then flew from Phuket to Singapore. After boarding my flight from Singapore though I developed severe food poisoning from a salad I ate at Changi. Spent the next 8 hours hauled up in a flying metal box with no doctor and no way out… throwing up violently again and again until I couldn’t even hold any water down.

I was getting very weak from lack of food and lack of sleep and was getting dehydrated too. So by the time I reached Sydney I was seizuring too. Probably the most awful flight experience I ever had. Counting the minutes, sweating from pain and hoping I’d be ok at the end of it. The flight crew organised ground staff to get me a wheelchair and I made it out. Mum was waiting for me and took me home.

Now I’ve slept some and starting to eat though it’s very painful. Because I was so sick for so long I couldn’t take my usual meds so my whole med regime is out of whack so I’m feeling pretty shit and all over the place. Should be working tomorrow but can’t make it, will have to wait til Tuesday now.

On my way home

On my way home

Wow that was a great wedding party at the Stone Bar in Railey. Yeeha. Photos later.

I’m now on my way home with a few cuts and bruises, and heaps of great memories. The speedboat to Phuket Pier was pretty good, the usual organised anarchy was at work. Now at Phuket airport where the ratio of Americans and Russians has gone up (just heard an announcement in Russian), gee I preferred the Swedes, the Danes and the Aussies, never mind. There were some loud Americans on the speed boat, I escaped from them, they looked at me with naive surprise. Do fat loud obnoxious Americans really don’t know what they actually are for the rest of the world? Hm.

I got really fond of Thai culture during these 2 weeks, especially the Buddhist infused variety (lots of Muslims in the South). I’ll be missing the place and am excited about the insights I get every time I travel back home.

Sawadee Kah Thailand, loved you long time! 🙂

Phranang and wedding

Phranang and wedding

Today I slept in after losing many hours of sleep to screaming babies in what seemed like all the bungalows around me. At one point 3 were screaming at the same time. The hell of parenthood I guess, just wish it didn’t effect others, but I guess we all effect each other. Still, I wonder how the parents survive on 1-2 hours of sleep per night and with the nightmare babies create around them.

I walked to Phranang Beach via Railey East in sweltering heat in the afternoon and photographed the pretty cliffs and caves there as well as the dilapidated Thai construction sites and huts on the way. It was breathtaking. Lots of climbers on that side manouvering across limestone overhangs.

Now we had Craig’s sister’s wedding at their residence here at Railey Beach Club and as usual I was playing the photographer (though there was another 8 adding to the surplus of shots), which I think is a better role than any other: entertaining, useful but distant. The photographer both engages and disengages, a good mix.

Now everyone’s getting ready for the reception, ie food and drinks, and then for a party which I think is somewhere else, so that the oldies can go to bed and the younger can go off to get high and party, with the nannies taking up the slack on the child rearing front so parents can have a night off. I bet they are looking forward to it. I don’t really have anything to celebrate or anyone I’d love to party with so not sure how I’ll fit into the whole thing, maybe I’ll be the photographer again.

Booked my boat back to Phuket now for Saturday, I’m getting ready to say goodbye to it all here.