9 February 2009

heartbreak and devastation - updated

8 Feb : fire sunset
A very fiery sunset last night

Just a quickie to say thank you for your emails, phone calls and comments and to let you know that we are fine and safe, but the fire risk remains, and most of the current fires around the state are still burning out of control.

5000 people homeless; 108 131 173 dead and the death toll is still rising. Wildlife, livestock, homes, pets, people. It's overwhelming and unbelievable. I have no words. I can't stop crying.

You can donate to the bushfire relief via the phone numbers below:

Red Cross Appeal 1800 811 700 (or online at their website here)
Salvation Army 137 258

Cash donations can be made at Commonwealth Bank branches, National Bank branches and Bunnings shops.

If you shop at Coles on Friday, all profits will be sent to the bushfire relief (thanks to Caroline for that heads up).

And if you are in my neck of the woods, the local community is collecting donations of cash, food, bedding, clothing, shoes and toiletries (shampoo, soap, nappies, sanitary supplies, etc). You can drop your donations at the Research Primary School (in the gym), or the Diamond Creek Community Centre, and the convoy will drive them up the hill to the Kinglake community. No more goods please, they've been inundated with gifts and donations, now they need $$ - see update below!

Most of the deaths occurred at Kinglake as the fire jumped 40km and hit before people had time to evacuate ... it's unbelievable. Whole towns have been razed to the ground, all the houses, shops, schools, police stations, fire stations, the lot. The sirens at the fire station at the end of our road are going off again as I type. It's heartbreaking. Heartbreaking.

UPDATED:
This just in from our local council ...

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Please note this is from the Nillumbik Shire Council Website www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au

Donations and volunteers: the Emergency Relief Centre has been inundated with goods and we are asking residents not to bring in any more goods at this stage.

Financial donations can be made via the major banks.

If you want to volunteer your time or expertise, contact the Relief Centre on 9438 5299.

The Victorian Bushfire Fund has been set up through the Red Cross donations can be made by phoning 1800 811 700 on through a secure online function at www.redcross.org.au .

Nillumbik Chief Executive Officer, Bill Forrest, thanks the generous spirit of the residents in our community for their immediate donations to relief centres in the Shire, but asks them to stop as halls are filled to capacity and volunteers are using time to sort through mountains of donations.

‘We would like people to hold off any donations until the major relief agencies can organise a coordinated system of collection and distribution. This will not happen immediately. As soon as we’ve got systems in place to cope with the very generous offers from the community we will let the major media outlets know how people can help.

‘We need to be able to talk to the agencies and ensure the best use is made of goods already received.’
*******************************************

55 comments:

Blossom said...

its just horrid isn't it.
so glad you and yours are safe....

gentle hugs

Kerry said...

I've been following the news with a kind of horrified fascination. My thoughts are with you all - I'm glad to hear you are safe when so many others aren't.

Jacqui said...

As I was driving my daughter in to daycare this morning I was listening to interviews on NZ National Radio with people who had fled their homes with nothing, lucky to escape at all (and all the poor people who didn't, how horrifying) and I just felt sick. So awful and so terrifyingly fast, I can't imagine. It brings our temperatures of only high 20s into focus and no-one's doing much complaining at all and dreading what could happen in the very dry south island. I'm not sure what we can do from over here other than look at the orange sky and think of everyone over there and hope you get a break from the weather.

jodie said...

I have been thinking of you all weekend but couldn't bring myself to email, in case you didn't answer.
This devastation is paralysing.

Penni said...

Oh Suse...it's just too real, isn't it?

BabelBabe said...

I have been following int he news, and thinking of you, and Kim, and several others. My Aussie geography is shaky, but I coudn't stand for any of you to be harmed.

Dear one, I am glad you are safe. Please stay that way.

Fiona said...

I'm so glad you are safe, have been thinking of you and checking in, hoping for a post.

We are all watching this, horrified.

xo

Emma said...

Very glad to hear that you and yours are safe. My prayers for all Victorians continue. I just wish there was more I could do.

katiecrackernuts said...

I was so shocked driving to work today and listening to the excellent ABC coverage of the fires. So many dead, the fear, the children. I can't bear to think of it. I thought of you and yours and am so pleased to hear you are safe.

Nanette said...

I'm also relieved that you and your family are safe and thank you for the suggestions regarding donations.
Many of us will be thinking of you in the coming days, hoping for cooler weather and rain.

Take care,
Nanette

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth says: I am really glad you and your family are safe, please stay that way & get the hell out of there as soon as you need to (if you need to which I hope you never do). It's unspeakable.

froginthepond said...

I'm in Nillumbik, too: if you can't get through to the volunteer register line, keep trying. It's just overloaded.

I've spent the morning washing and ironing clothes for donation, labeling bags. And getting weepy. We're safe, but so many other weren't.

Jean said...

My heart aches for all those people, living in Southern California we have experienced our share of wild fires, but nothing on this scale. Please take gentle care of yourself, my thoughts are with you.

willywagtail said...

I knew you were near but couldn't think of your name. So glad to hear you are safe from the horrific devastation. This week was meant to be a good sewing week for me but I haven't been able to concentrate at all because of the fires. Cherrie

herhimnbryn said...

Be safe.

fifi said...

beyond awful.


take care.

Green Kitchen said...

I'm so sorry. Keep us posted.

Blue Mountains Mary said...

Thinking of you and your family darling. I know your heart will be overflowing - as are ours. Just devastating.

Di said...

I have been thinking of you all weekend and hoping you were safe. So pleased to hear today that you have survived. My heart goes out to all those families who have lost so much.

meggie said...

Hugs Suse. I am so pleased to read you are safe!

eurolush said...

Glad to hear you're okay, Suse. It's just unbelievably sad what I'm seeing and hearing on the news. So much suffering. My heart goes out to all.

Stay safe.

Eleanor said...

Take care dear Suse, my thoughts are with you and your community.

travellersyarn said...

So glad to hear that you are safe. The scale of this disater is so difficult to comprehend.

Kylie said...

Suse - thinking of you and your family during this time - it is just so hard to believe. we were in Canberra when the fire storms came through there. Pray that you and your family continue to stay safe. Wish I could bottle some of this water that is falling in NQ at the moment and mail it down your way! ((((((HUGS)))))

M said...

Devastating. Was thinking of you today. I can't believe Marysville is GONE. And Kinglake doesn't bear thinking about.

manda said...

so glad to hear you are safe. its just completely unbelievably heart breaking isnt it. xoxox

Gina said...

So pleased you are safe and our thoughts go out to all effected by these dreadful fires. It is hard for us to imagine how awful it must be.

Tracie said...

Thank goodness you are safe. Thinking of you

Ali said...

So so glad you are safe. And so devastated for those who aren't.

Ali la Loca said...

My thoughts are with everyone affected by the fires. What a terrible situation. It is heartbreaking just reading about it.

The List Writer said...

I have been thinking of you, hoping you were safe, and wondering what was going on. Thank you for the update. The pictures we see here in London are horrific. I hope the weather breaks, the wind dies down and the fires come under control very soon.

With love, Nancy. xx

Helen said...

I can't stop crying either. So much sadness it's just horrible. There just aren't words.

I logged on this morning early hoping to see a message so I would know that you and your family are ok. In events like this you realise just how precious people are no matter how tenuous the links (I read your blog but that's the only link to date). You've become part of my mornings. My favourite start to the day is to check my favourite blogs with a cup of tea. So very very pleased you are safe and well.

best wishes
helen
south australia

docwitch said...

And may you and your dear family remain safe.

So many of us are just utterly heartbroken, and constantly thinking of those who are suffering. But we are still as yet unable to comprehend the loss of such beautiful, vibrant communities and their people.

I was at the Royal Children's again with my daughter today, and being there at this time brought it all much, much closer to home. We just walked back to the car with tears streaming down our faces.

JoeyJoJo said...

Dearest Suze. So glad you're OK. It's so scary being near fires like that. I remember my Mum used to sniff the wind when we lived in Eltham when I was small & say "Hmmm strong North wind better get home."
I'll be in Melbourne next Thursday & will be thinking of you. Big Love from the UK

Anonymous said...

Our thoughts are with you, your friends, family and neighbours.

Love and Hope from the UK

Missy

ellen said...

It' like being in a terrible war and having no means to fight back....such incomprehensible losses and constant fear and heartbreaking circumstances.
May you be safe.

Mithril said...

You are all in my thoughts and prayers... stay safe.

zephyr said...

i was incommunicado this past weekend, no internet, tv or radio. Was devastated when i saw the news this morning. So glad you are OK. My heart weeps for your country...and prays for the safety of those fighting the fire and all of you.

RW said...

I am very glad to hear you and yours are safe. I too, was out of the loop all weekend and my first thoughts were to you and all my australian connections through blogland.

Anna of Helylle said...

You're in my thoughts. I cannot begin to imagine the horror you must feel. So grateful you're safe.

jus said...

So pleased to hear you are all safe. Take care.

Mary from The Wool Palace said...

You jumped to my mind as I was watching the news tonight. Glad to hear you and your family are safe; my thoughts are with you all as you cope with this awful situation.

Paula said...

Suse, Please know that I am sending my prays to all of you there...

MsCellania said...

I'm so glad you posted as I was so worried.
It's just so terrifying and terrible. I can't imagine the horror of fire like that.
Clear your brush, dear Suse.
Take good care.

Cristy said...

So glad to hear that you are safe - a tiny glimmer of good news amidst such awfulness. I just can't get my head around it.

nutmeg said...

I've been checking in with bloglines to see if you had posted. It is a relief to read that you and your family are OK. Such a terrible, horifying, disaster. The Australian bush can be so beautiful but it can turn ... (a lot of times with the help of arsonists - the shame!)

Kirsty said...

Glad you & your family are safe. My thoughts are with your community.

Victoria said...

Glad you're okay. We're right, the closest significant fire is about an hour away. So bad. xxoo

peppermintpatcher said...

Glad to hear that you are safe. Everything else simply defies comprehension.

Corrie said...

oh so glad you are safe but its so sad. Thank you for sharing such important information

Corrie:)

Story said...

I don't know if you know about this...But the Australian Bush Flower Essence "Solaris" is wonderful for just such a situation...

Shammickite said...

Thank goodness you are safe. Please stay that way!
I've been following the news on CBC here in Canada, I can't imagine the ferocity of the flames. Over 200 lost souls now. My thoughts are with you all.

Shirty said...

Stay safe--I'm thinking of you all.

Martina said...

God Suze....glad you are ok....stay safe.

Isabelle said...

Oh dear, yes.