Saturday, March 28, 2009

Black Saturday

On the 7th of feburary 2009, the state of Victoria and Australia in general were thrown head first into the worst bushfires in Australia's history and some of the worst fires in the world.

Fires, both natually starting and deliberatly lit surrounded Victoria burning for hundreds of Kilometres.
I live in Melbourne in the southern part of Australia, a beautiful coast line, rugged moutains, and dense bush land.

On this day Tempretures reached 46' Degrees across the state, or 115 Fahrenheit.
Winds raged across the state, but no one expected what occured.

Late in the evening, two fire fronts merged surrounding small communites both in and around victoria and only 30 kilometres from my home.

Areas including Kinglake, Marysville, Narbethong, Strathewen and Flowerdale were completley destroyed.
3500 Structures were destroyed, leaving more than 7,500 people homeless.

Many of the homeless had been injured, in either staying to fight the blazes (which tore through so quickly that they had no choice) or fleeing.

I like all Australians and many people across the world sat in fear that night and listened non stop to the radio.To hear for updates, when the news broke at around 8 pm that some large towns covering the state had been all but wipped out.

We hoped with every part of souls that the lives of those affected would be spared.
But as day broke, the news slowly got worse.

At the time I write this entry, 210 people are confirmed to have died in the blazes, many of these people were trying to outrun the fire.
Hundreds more were injured.

Australia and the world rallyed behind the vicitms of Black Saturday.
The people who had lost everything, including loved ones to this terribly tragic event.

Since the event, more than 100 Million dollars has been raised to help those effected.

The areas of Kinglake, and Flowerdale are two places I would pass through frequently before the fires tore through. This is the direct route to where my family live, and to the place where my mother is buried.
Today I visited the area for the first time.
I alone could not believe some of the devestation I saw, houses, schools, cars, business's burnt to the ground.
The re building efforts are already well underway for some, but for others it is too raw.

My dad and I took a ride up on his motorbike and visited Kinglake.
We took a stock of what we had seen at a local cafe' stopping for a coffee and to talk with some of the locals.
The town was a buzz with people, some locals, some visiting.
As hard as it is, to see the place where so many people lost everything.
It is amazing to see the renewed hope, and smiles on the faces of those who have to start over. With each person who passes through the doors of each cafe' or bakery, we are promoting the re building of such a beautiful community.
The faces of the towns people say, "we are stong we can do anything"
Thats the kind of belief system I wish I could have all the time.

Australia will remember Black Saturday, we will continue to honor and remember those who are no longer with us, & and in some way we will all play a part in rebuilding the communites and familes that lost so much.

"ode of rememberance"
Its a poem about war I thought it seemed fitting.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Lest we forget.