Sad Update on Australian Wildfires

Postby Marinepits » February 10th, 2009, 10:40 am

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,490366,00.html

Maps, photos and videos available on website. WARNING -- many of the photos are horrific.

WHITTLESEA, Australia — The leader of the Australian state devastated by wildfires says the death toll will exceed 200.

The confirmed death toll stood at 181 Tuesday evening, but Victoria state Premier John Brumby said the coroner has identified another 50 bodies that have not been counted in the official death toll.

Authorities fear many bodies may have been burned beyond recognition and others will never be retrieved from the ashes spread over 360,000 acres of devastation across Victoria.

"There's still a large number of people — in excess of 50 who are unconfirmed and essentially these are people who the coroner believes are already deceased, but are not yet identified," Brumby said.

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine director Professor Stephen Cordner said identification would be in some cases impossible to achieve.

Police are continuing to hunt down the arsonist believed to be responsible for lighting one of the worst of the Victoria fires.

Police have confirmed that they believe they know the identity of the man who allegedly contributed to the Churchill-Jeeralang blaze in Gippsland. Twenty-one people have died in the region.

But the Country Fire Authority said the firefront could have included towns further north, including Kinglake, St Andrews and Strathewen, where dozens more died in the firestorm.

Police said they could release a photo of the suspect in the next couple of days. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has likened lighting the blazes to mass murder, and tonight said arsonists should "rot in jail".

24 fires were still burning and towns remained under threat as authorities moved deeper into the ruins of more than 700 homes which were lost.

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » February 10th, 2009, 11:40 am

Those pictures are amazing. The one of the firefighter sharing his water with a koala... :(

There isn't a punishment fitting for people who do things such as set wildfires.
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Postby Marinepits » February 10th, 2009, 2:34 pm

pitbullmamaliz wrote:There isn't a punishment fitting for people who do things such as set wildfires.


I'd be okay with locking the arsonist in a car and setting it on fire. That's how many of his victims died. >(
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Postby Marinepits » February 10th, 2009, 2:35 pm

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Postby Marinepits » February 10th, 2009, 2:58 pm

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Baby sugar glider rescued
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Postby Malli » February 10th, 2009, 3:02 pm

how awful.

That koala picture is amazing.
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Postby amazincc » February 10th, 2009, 3:21 pm

It's horrible that people will do that to each other... I know if they catch the arsonist(s) the charge will be murder.

My heart goes out to all those people and animals. :cry:
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Postby Marinepits » August 6th, 2009, 9:01 am

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,537 ... latestnews

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Fire Survivor 'Sam' the Koala Dies in Surgery

ADELAIDE, Australia — Sam the koala, who gained worldwide fame and sympathy when she was rescued during Australia's devastating wildfires this year, died Thursday during an operation meant to save her from a life-threatening disease.

The 4-year-old koala had developed cysts associated with urogenital chlamydiosis, which affects up to 50 percent of Australia's koala population.

During surgery, the disease was found to be so advanced that it was inoperable and Sam was put to sleep, said Peita Elkhorne, spokeswoman for the lawyers that represent the shelter where the koala had lived since the February fires.

"It was so severe that there was no possible way to be able to manage her pain," Elkhorne said in a statement. "All of those who have been involved with Sam are devastated with this loss."

Even Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd commented on the animal's death, saying she had been a symbol of hope for Australia during the wildfires.

"It's tragic that Sam the koala is no longer with us," Rudd said.

As the fires burned in Victoria state, Sam was gingerly making her way on scorched paws past a fire patrol north of Melbourne when one of the firefighters spotted her. The firefighter was photographed holding a bottle of water to her lips, an image that resonated around the world.

She suffered second- and third-degree burns to her paws and had been recuperating at the Southern Ash Wildlife Shelter.

Record temperatures, high winds and forests dried by years of drought set off infernos that swept a vast area of Victoria state, killing more than 170 people and destroying thousands of homes.
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Postby TheRedQueen » August 6th, 2009, 10:07 am

:cry: It's all so senseless... :cry:
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Postby mnp13 » August 6th, 2009, 10:29 am

Marinepits wrote:
pitbullmamaliz wrote:There isn't a punishment fitting for people who do things such as set wildfires.


I'd be okay with locking the arsonist in a car and setting it on fire. That's how many of his victims died. >(


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Postby kera09 » August 6th, 2009, 10:36 am

the koala story made me cry, the guy should die!!!!! i didnt know koala bears were sweet?? i want one! lol
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Postby Malli » August 6th, 2009, 1:12 pm

I wouldn't say sweet, I think they can be quite nasty if they feel so, actually.

Most likely she was desperate for water. It does seem that they handle handling better though...
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Postby LMM » August 6th, 2009, 9:40 pm

I was very sad to read about Sam :(
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