So an update, because I have been quiet of late... and people have been contacting me to see if I am OK.
So, firstly. Yes. I am.
Thank you for your thoughts and emails. I am truly grateful for all your good wishes.
In regard to the Victorian bush fires, I live in Richmond, Melbourne and whilst I have been feeling the effects of the heat and the smell of bush smoke drifting into the city, I am safe. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for many of my fellow Victorians... so so many have lost everything. There have been nearly 2000 homes lost and lives forever altered. The death toll is absolutely heartbreaking, and as numbers continue to increase, it is of a scale too terrible to comprehend.
I have good friends who have been under threat of ember attack for the last week now, though I am happy to report the level of urgency has declined in the last couple of days and they are now able to leave the house. Roads have re-opened locally so they are able to get to their nearest town. It has been a terrifying time and we have all been feeling helpless. All that we have been able to do is check on them every day and hope that the winds blow in the right direction and do not put them in harms way.
I visited them just 2 weeks before the fires and they warmly welcomed me into their home and I got the local's view of the nearby hills and towns. They live just at the base of the Blue Range which is still burning. At this stage, the only hope of extinguishing the flames is rain. Yes rain. In an area parched due to drought, rain is their only hope, unless the fires burn themselves out of fuel. So it is by no means over. Our hope is this easing of the hot weather has given them more time to re forge containment lines and that there is no more loss.
Family and friends have lost friends in the tragedy, and many more know people who have lost their homes. Victoria and Australia is in mourning... the photos of scarred land, razed homes and destroyed townships has meant we have not escaped. Everyone is feeling the loss to some extent. Ours is merely the surface of the grief.
For those who have survived, they will never escape the memories or the terrors of that day. They have lost family and friends, property, pets, and their livelihoods. I do not pretend to understand what they are going through right now, their grief, their anger, their distress and overwhelming sorrow...I have no doubt, they will continue to hold Black Saturday in their memories for their remaining days and their lives will never be the same. All we can hope for now is that the community continues to support and give generously whatever and whenever they can.
So far there has been nearly $100 Million donated to the Appeal. It sounds like a lot, but this is going to be a long recovery and every cent is needed to start to rebuild the lives of those effected.
If you would like, you can donate online to the Australian Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal.