An emotional Kevin Rudd, Australia’s prime minister, has described the deaths of scores of people in wildfires as “mass murder”.
The fires spread through rapidly through communities in southern Australia, as desperate residents tried to flee the flames.
Al Jazeera’s Tarek Bazley reports.
By Margaret Rees and Patrick O’Connor
9 February 2009
At least 128 people have died in bushfires and firestorms which swept through parts of the south-eastern state of Victoria on the weekend. The worst fire disaster in Australia’s history has left a devastating toll, with hundreds injured including dozens with severe burns, more than 750 homes destroyed, and at least 330,000 hectares (815,000 acres) of land razed. The Red Cross has registered more than 3,700 evacuees, but the number of people made homeless is expected to increase substantially.
Thousands of firefighters and hundreds of volunteers are battling wildfires in southeastern Australia. In the state of Victoria, dozens have been killed and at least 100 homes destroyed in the blazes. People are busy trying to protect their homes and to avoid the heat, as the temperature reaches record levels. Al Jazeera’s Jayne Azzopardi reports.