Monday, February 09, 2009

131

Is not exactly a significant number. 131 dollars. 131 meters. 131 calories.

Its not really that big a number. Until today. 131 lives lost. The devastation I cannot put into words.

I first found out that there were fatalities through a friends facebook page. She's a firefighter out near Marysville. 26 was the number then. That was awful enough. But every time I checked, that figure changed.

Another friend - my best friends brother - updated his facebook - his family live in the middle of that area. My family friends, who I loved. I contacted my bestie, but no response.

36, then 46.

He updated a few hours later to say that they were safe in Melbourne. I breathed a sigh of relief

Someone rang and told me 66, I couldn't believe that. Later that night the toll rose to 76, then a few minutes later the news read 84. I began to clean, even though it was 11.30 at night.

How could it get worse? Easily.

This morning it was 108.

My friend rang me back today. Her family is safe and well. Their property was safe. The only thing that happened to them was the loss of her sister and brother in law's business in Marysville. I'm not really surprised, the whole town was wiped out.

I began to breathe, to hope, when the number stayed steady. But it has gone up again. Now its 131.

Some of the stories I've heard in the past two days
Horse saves farmer from blaze
Teen saves family on a tractor
When Hell came to Kinglake

They expect the toll to rise above 200.

I have no words.

11 comments:

MissE said...

Shit.
A mate of mine has just found out that one of her uni lecturers, his wife and their daughter are among the dead. She upset but even more so for the friend that told her about it - she'd only just arranged a week ago to go out and spend time with them this week.

Over 200... how the hell?

Fusion said...

200? Horrible.

unique_stephen said...

I'm staggered by the ferocity of this fire.
As Aussies we live with fire. It is part of the landscape. We all get the messages drummed into us at school - stay in the house, then leave after the fire passes the house may burn but the fire will pass in minuets and then you can get out. Safer than driving in smoke. If you are caught in the car then windows up, air con on, engine running, don't stop under a tree - down hill not up - etc. This was different - 100kmph winds, 10 year drought, a 46C day after two weeks of +40.
This one has caught us looking the other way.

The Mutant said...

I got nothing but stunned silence on this one too. I stayed up until way too late last night watching it all on the news. I heartily encourage anyone who is able to make donations of food, clothing, money or baby goods to do so. Your local St Vincents or Red Cross will be able to help.

fingers said...

Here's a word for you.
Fuck !!!
Now we have to stop being stunned and start helping these people out...

Clyde said...

There are no words only do
Do what we can
Give money if you have
Give clothes or food if you have spare
Give thoughts and love because you do have them
Just be there for someone

Cazzie!!! said...

We all know someone who is affected, there are 5 people dead from my husbands work. The union has come around to collect money, they will give it straight to the affected families so they can get toiletries, clothes, undies, shoes, anything they need, aswell as pay for their insurance premiums so they do not have to wait to get things done to build and get a car etc... it is just...mortifying.

miss diarist said...

It's horrid beyond words, Phishy. Everyone has a story and this is too, too close to home.

Something for you over at mine, too.

*~Dani~* said...

Very horrific. Glad to hear that you friend and her family is safe and my heart goes out to all of those whose family members did not make it. So very very sad.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

It has been a ghastly situation. My prayers continue for all of Australia.

Josh said...

This is a terrible tragedy... it just seems like it could have been prevented somehow. Maybe not.