What is most important right now?

Forget the GFC. Forget AGW. Forget all of that. The most important thing for this country right now is to help our fellow Australians in Victoria who have lost their lives, their family, their pets, their homes. Nothing else in this country is more important.  And the relief agencies need money, so please consider giving some to one of the following:

Red Cross

NAB Fire Relief Fund

I contacted one of my close friends in Victoria over the week, they packed up and left their home when a house two streets over burnt down. They are one of the lucky ones who are safe and still have their home. Many do not.

Update: And to those who can, please give blood.

Update 2: And as mentioned in the comments, let’s not forget those in Queensland who are still flooded with more rain to come.

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43 Responses

  1. Totally agree Joni, what’s happening is horrific!

  2. Hear hear!

    Blood and money, if you’ve got some to spare it’s time to give

  3. The only thing on our minds should be the support of our fellow aussies. My heart goes out to them. I will be giving blood tomorrow.

    I certainly hope the judges and the legal system finally get the hint regarding treating fire bugs as murderers.

  4. Ah yes – blood. That is another thing that they need.

    Unfortunately – the Blood Bank will not accept my blood no matter how many times I offer.

  5. Joni, to me your blood is worth bottling. Younger daughter is off to the blood bank this afternoon. I contacted her after reading your input about blood and so you can say that the donation is on your behalf.

  6. On the blood thing, for all the right reasons, the blood banks are mayhem right now. If planning to give, make an appointment and do all the registration things. They are going to be needing it for weeks, it doesn’t have to be today.

  7. Shane. From what I have been hearing these arsonists are indeed going to be charged with murder. The only specific links that I can find at present include:
    http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/story/0,22049,25027105-5001028,00.html
    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25027094-661,00.html

  8. Absolutely, joni!

    Over 100 dead and rising is horrifying. A truly national disaster.

    The video footage I saw last night reminded me of photos of bombed German and English citties during WWII…

    Just a little parochialism – please don’t forget the Queenslanders who are also doing it tough at the other end of the country!

  9. Thank you for the warning James..have contacted youngest and she has made an appointment. She is O positive and so needed.

  10. TB..according to son in Cairns they are ok, some supplies coming in. Dreadful for the citizens of Ingham.

  11. Min

    There’s more rain on the way too I believe!

    His your son involved at all? ADF working both ends of the country I understand (as usual!)

    Don’t problems always come in threes?

    GFC, floods and fire…I hope that’s the last!

    Kevin Rudd looking very drained and emotional on TV this morning according to my daughter…what a job!

  12. Thank you so much for asking TB. Son took leave following the birth of bubs and has not been able to get to work since. A couple of his mates (he made Army friends while at Wagga Wagga) are involved.

    Yes I agree, Rudd did look very drained. Daughter has met him on a number of occasions and says that he is like her dad..heart on sleeve.

    And as a double thank you to TB, it’s so wonderful to read your input which is minus the political cynicism. Not good when you read that 108 people have died including families incinerated in their cars and all that you get on the blogs is blah blahs.

  13. TB – “Kevin Rudd looking very drained and emotional on TV this morning”

    I don’t have much sympathy for politicians in these circumstances. Usually their visits to the grief stricken are at best a distraction for the people actually doing valuable work, at worst it is a photo opportunity.

    I’d just use the old axiom – once you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.

    You’re right joni, this type of tragedy puts the BS argy bargy of politics into an entirely different perspective.

    Having reflected poorly on politicians, I’d like to post a sincere expression of appreciation to the volunteers and emergency service workers involved. Many risk their own lives, and no doubt many of the fatalities will be people who died trying to look after others.

    We ought to cough up big time for these groups.

  14. One of the most important things to do is find a way of preventing idiots from throwing cigarette butts out of car windows. Two people are dead and 50 homes have been lost in the Bendigo area becasue of such an idiot.
    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25027063-1243,00.html

    They make it a national past-time here in Canberra. Not one year after our own fires I’ve seen dickheads throw ciggie butts out the window in 35 degree days next to grassy areas.

    I can only try to imagine how their brain operates.

  15. I can only try to imagine how their brain operates.

    Brain? 😯

  16. On a day the hottest day ever recorded, one throws a butt out of the car window. The only defense can be diminish capacity, otherwise it’s manslaughter through negligence.

  17. Brain?

    TB, they might have been a Queenslander.

  18. Migs..not funny.

  19. Nasty business indeed. Incineration would have to be a horrid thing to confront.

    I well remember the fear on Ash Wednesday when we were poised to evacuate the farm & dad was off with the CFS fighting a losing battle. The fire got to within a few kilometres of home & there were a handful of fatalities on Leggs Lane which is very close by.
    The magnitude of what has happened over the weekend is beyond normal comprehension & looks likely to get worse as things are pieced together.

    Not a political triviality by any means.

    Kudos to the people on the frontline & terrible regret for so many who have lost so much.

  20. Toiletb. Is this Leggs Lane in SA. Then it’s not far from where husband J’s 2nd sister lives. K phoned saying how her lawn was covered in ashes.

  21. Rang one of my good mates whose mother and her partner live in VIC.

    Her partner has cattle at marysville and they have lost them all along with his customers cattle as well.

    People they knew well are dead.

    Their actual house is near beechworth and now they are awaiting details regarding evacuation near their home. An idiot lit another fire only 1km from Beechworth not long ago apparently. They have not found the person the last he had heard.

  22. Shane. I am so very sorry to hear this. Please let your mate know that our prayers are with his mother and their neighbors. My family is from Tungamah.

    And yes, have heard from friends that there are idiots (criminals) running around doing their jollies (pardon the expression, but probably wanking themselves at the same time) trying to reignite fires.

  23. Migs..not funny.

    Min, you misunderstood. I was giving TB a compliment by assuming that if they were Queenslanders then they would have had a brain.

  24. Migs..these wretched cross-overs. I think that we’ve all been caught writing something with something else being posted a milisecond prior.

    Wanna kiss and make up? Tell Jedda to turn her back!

    Speaking of whom, how did the b’day party go yesterday?

    Just a bit worried about family who aren’t in the fire zone, but we can’t get through to them but I believe that all the towers are down.

  25. Miglo, on February 9th, 2009 at 11:00 am Said:

    They make it a national past-time here in Canberra. Not one year after our own fires I’ve seen dickheads throw ciggie butts out the window in 35 degree days next to grassy areas.

    I like you have seen this so many times whilst riding my motorbike and once several of us stopped to put out a fire when we saw a cigarette butt thrown out of a car start a grass fire.

    I have been hit in the helmet numerous times by live cigarette butts, and once one hit me on the skin of my neck as it got between my helmet chin and high bike jacket collar. I believe many of these are deliberately thrown by those in cars to see if they can hit the motorcyclist/cyclist behind them.

    Incineration would have to be a horrid thing to confront.

    Doesn’t make it any easier or better but I heard once that you are usually dead or at least unconscious before you incinerate.

  26. And Adrian re: I believe many of these are deliberately thrown by those in cars to see if they can hit the motorcyclist/cyclist behind them.

    And also if they can create a fire. Hey, let’s see if it happens.

    I believe that most asphixiate prior to death and so the prime cause of death isn’t burns. I would not wish this on anyone. I don’t have any skin on either of my hands and the pain is such hell that even morphine doesn’t help. And this is just hands and so I cannot imagine what it would be like to have burns to 30% of one’s body.

  27. Years ago I came up with a solution for cigarette butts.

    The costs of cigarettes should include a premium on the butts, and you get that premium refunded when you return the butts to XXXX (now I have not worked out where XXXX is).

    So – if you are a smoker then you will not just fling the butts onto the ground, out your window etc. You will collect them to get the refund.

    And to those who say that it would be dirty to collect them and return them I say, um, yeah – but at least it would be better than the litter and fires?

  28. Yes min, it’s Leggs Lane in SE SA. A tragic day & frighteningly close to oblivion for my family.

    The red blotch at the bottom of this map is the area in question, Leggs Lane would be at the top of the blotch & our farm is just above that, virtually on the blotch’s boundary…

    I couldn’t, at a quick search, find exact details or numbers & I was only about 8yo at the time so my recollection is cloudy, but I remember the fear.
    The precise location of Leggs Lane is on GoogleEarth under “Leggs Lane South Australia” in the searchbar if you’re interested.

    The South East was not a good place to be at the time.

  29. Joni..there is something called an ashtray in one’s car. There is no excuse for people who chuck their butts out of the car window during the hottest day in 100+ years. They should and will be charged with manslaughter via negligence.

  30. “Doesn’t make it any easier or better but I heard once that you are usually dead or at least unconscious before you incinerate.”Adrian

    I hate to say it but I’m under the impression that it’s radiant heat that commonly causes death in a bushfire, due to the monstrous nature of the inferno, rather than smoke inhalation (which you’d expect in a house fire)…although asphyxiation due to the fire consuming available oxygen seems plausible.
    As a vast majority of pain receptors are found in the top mm’s of skin I reckon that there’d be no escaping the agony as the firefront approached.
    Obviously I’d like to be wrong about that for merciful reasons.

    Sorry for the morbid tangent.

  31. ToiletB..and we were in Mt Evelyn, Yarra Ranges foothills. I had my 2 children ready to evacuate. And how I think about how many lives now lost.

    And please no politics but am listening to Gillard relating personal experiences. Clearly upset and me too.

  32. The bushfires are making global headline news. Even here in sleepy Hoi An in Vietnam.

    The news.com.au web site keeps crashing – due to load problems I suspect.

    Hope all you are safe back home.

  33. I’ve been informed that there is a $200 fine for throwing ciggie butts out of cars in the ACT. All you need to do is report the offender and they are slapped with the fine. My informant says that they pay up the $200 as they know it’s going to cost them a hell of a lot more to fight it.

    I say, make the fine $2000.

  34. Is it just me or would a speech from the deputy PM and Opposition leader suffice? Perhaps an outline of spending from Swan, ok. But do we need a speech from Bishop and whoever is to follow? It just feels like a clamour for relevance. Toll now 128.

  35. James..have just clocked on. And so now it’s 128 Have an elderly friend and am hoping that it’s just an outage. Who gives a stuff about the $s at this time, or will Turnbull quibble about the money that the government needs to spend.

    You are right, Gillard’s speech was emotional and relevant. Bishop says that her family has been through similar and so she entitled to say what she feels.

  36. The horror of these fires has left Australians with raw emotions. The federal government has pledged AUD$10 million. It would be nice if Mr Rudd instead of giving AUD$2.5 billion to Indonesia he gave the Indonesians AUD$10 million and spent the AUD$2.5 billion in helping to rebuild the communities destroyed by fires and floods and maybe inject some of the money into our hospitals. That’s of course if Australian lives matter more than repairing roads in Java.

  37. Did the PM really give Indonesia so much?

    That explains why Clinton visited there just recently and gave Australia a wide berth…her and Bangles were splitting the cash…LOL!

    More like the PM was ignored because of the Bush incident…US politicians of both colours don’t like a big mouth in my opinion.

  38. Tried posting this earlier. It has some useful links.

    Post for ‘Global Voices’: Bushfires devastate Victoria

  39. I live in Gippsland. This is the email I sent to my daughter and friends on Saturday night.

    Hi ******,
    On alert:: Walhalla, Erica, Glengarry, Toongabbie, Cowwarr, Warragul, Drouin. Burning: Pakenham, Narre Warren, Churchill, Traralgon South, Tarra Bulga Nat Park, Balook, Jindivick, Callignee, North and South, Yarram, Won Wron, Woodside, all the beach side towns, and everything in-between, Mt Tassie transmitter towers are gone. We watched the hills on the other side of the Valley burn from the back of Churchill to Mr Tassie, 60 K’s as the crow flies in 2 hours. All this from our front yard, along with our local CFA and most of the population of Yallourn North. It was spectacular, the flames 1000 meters high. I’ve never seen anything like it. By 5.30pm it was as black as night, the air thick with dark choking smoke, making it hard to breathe. By 7pm, it started to rain lightly, black rain. It cleared the smoke a little. The Princes Highway is cut at Pakenham, Warragul, Morwell, Stratford, Sale, amongst other major towns, there are hundreds of road blocks, including the Walhalla Erica road from Tyers. Closer to home, 2 k’s, Strettons Track caught fire, was put out, and a couple of hours later caught again and is now contained. The wind was gusting up to 120k’s an hour, so very hot.

    Right now: There are Thunder storms happening with spectacular lightening, starting more fires. No rain with it here. The smoke is thick and is making me choke, ABC Radio just alerted us that the fire has pushed through to Traralgon South which is now burning, and is moving quickly towards Loy Yang. They have put us on alert for the next 4 hours, the wind will change direction and come from the South West, pushing the fires right towards us. The radio signal is coming and going, I just heard there were casualties, but not the whereabouts. Visibility is down to 200 meters, we have been told not to drive, it’s too dangerous, hence all the road blocks.

    Love, Mum.

    I don’t expect an answer, just wanted you to know what it was like on Saturday, and is still continuing with new outbreaks right now.

  40. No way, the fear must be intense. The conditions discribed are unfightable and must be left to burn which in turn shows no control other then the wind direction.

    mind blowing stuff

  41. You sit and listen to the stories on Q&A…. and just cry for two reasons.

    Compassion.

    And amazement at the depth of the human spirit.

  42. My town, my employer & (shock) my Union has really put some gumption into organising donations & materials.

    Pretty full on effort in only a few days. You don’t see that sort of cooperation too often.

  43. Don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but I’m watching True Blood S1 E1 on Showtime. (Sexy vampire series.)

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