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Monday, 9 February 2009

Victoria Fires

This morning I heard the news about the fires in Victoria on the radio and I, like most people, was shocked and sobered. Like most Christians hearing the news, I stopped and prayed for the people affected.

Two years ago my parents moved from Torbay (Auckland) to Cairns after really enjoying their holidays and the people they met there. I thought of them on hearing the news but was I was immediately relieved that they do not live near the fires so I figured it would not be having a direct impact on them; however, my mother just emailed me the following:
We are all very upset here at the moment because of the dreadful fires in Victoria. Our neighbours are in the thick of it (the eleven people we had christmas dinner with, now living in Victoria). I phoned them last night and they were crying. The night before, they had their children on the floor with wet towels over them with the fire all around them. The little girl asked her father if she was going to die and he didnt know what to tell her. The fire singed their house and burned the shed of their business house and the other house was singed as well. There were 28 houses in their street and only 4 remain, (three of them our neighbours houses). They said there was a dead body in the street and it had been there all day. One of their houses was on fire but a water pipe burst and put out the fire. (We have been praying for them).

The television is giving reports up to the minute and it is all horrible; 150 confirmed dead and more to come. People burned in their cars.

Up here we have no food. There was a plane load last night into Cairns so we may get some vegies and friut up here if we are lucky. Today will be more rain and lightning.

NZ is a very safe place I am beginning to realise. Please pray for the people in Victoria.
It has been easy to forget how inhospitable Australia can be when we contemplate moving over the ditch to get away from NZ taxes and embrace the higher standard of living Australians have. These events remind us of how little money and the pursuit of material things really matter.

The Australian bush needs fire to renew itself. It is just how nature works. We live on fault lines, next to volcanoes, in flood zones, in areas prone to uncontrollable bush fires. We take risks every day when we cross the road. We think, we hope, we calculate that it won't happen to us. How terrible when it does.

My heart and prayers are with those suffering in Australia.


  1. Hi Madeline,
    I have just found your blog, I am a Kiwi living in Australia & I have to tell you the people over here are just shell shocked about the loss of life & property in Victoria. It has been reported on the news that most of these fires have been deliberately lit, to be honest I cannot understand how such a person's mind works to want to cause so much heartache to so many. I hear from my Mum & Dad that the heatwave has now hit NZ in certain areas, if those areas are as dry as over here they should be on alert!
    It is quite unbeleivable that fires are raging in so many states now while up north the country is flooding. I feel very deeply for both.

    Lyn xxx

  2. We saw on the news tonight that some of the fires had been deliberately lit and it was so hard to believe in the face of the loss and suffering those actions have caused.

    The flooding up north has concerned us a great deal as my parents had to go and get sandbags to have on standby to protect their property and Mum was telling me they have a furniture plan to elevate everything they had been going over.

    Now they have this fresh food shortage as a result of all the disaster the country is facing - Mum did just email to say she managed to get some veggies today afterall but that the supermarket is rather bare.

    We are certainly not having such problems in NZ. It is very hot in Auckland though not dry, it is lightly raining here on and off at the moment, though it had been very dry for some days before the rain started tonight.

  3. hi Madeline, i am a kiwi, and moved to queensland 4years ago, i then moved to Victoria last year in September. i love it here and was of cause shocked to hear on the news after the 47 degree day we had, that 4hrs away 20 people had lost thier lives... and it just keeps rising, at the moment they say its likely to be +300, and it makes you sick inside to think that im living in the same state with someone who intentionally lit these fires, noing full wel the potential consequenses, i have cried every day, not only for the families and friends of those in the fire areas, also those whoo have died, and also the amount of courage from the people over there fighting the fires, and all the salvation army people organising food and clothes and even toys for the children who have lost everything they are so used to...
    its bittersweet in the situation, our town are getting together to make food, clothing donation relief packages to be sent to the victims of this horrendous situation... im not a christian, but right now i am praying for these people.
    25million dollars has been raised since saturday, its now tuesday...
    in times like these you see Australians for who they really are.

  4. It has been heartbreaking to watch from New Zealand the impact is so vast, so many people hurting and devasted; their lives changed forever. However, it has also been incredibly inspiring to see so many people join together and show love and support and to give so much as well; to hear stories like yours.

    They say that the true test of character is what we do when we are put under stress, stretched to our limits - do we rise to the occaision or buckle? I think Australians (and honorary Australians) can be very proud of their response. Take courage and strength from the solidarity around you and know that many people are praying for you and your neighbours.


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