THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Residents get first look at town devastated by Australia bushfire

AUSTRALIA: Residents got their first look today (Mar 20) at the devastation wrought by a bushfire that ravaged a town in Australia, but fears over asbestos and unstable structures mean even those with houses still standing cannot move back.

accidentsconstructiondisastersenvironmenthealthlandpollutionweatherproperty
By AFP

Tuesday 20 March 2018, 09:44AM


Nearly 70 homes have been destroyed in the picturesque New South Wales seaside village of Tathra. Photo: AFP

Nearly 70 homes have been destroyed in the picturesque New South Wales seaside village of Tathra. Photo: AFP

Sixty-nine homes were incinerated in Tathra on the south coast of New South Wales, and another 39 damaged, after a blaze fanned by gusty winds and hot, dry conditions swept through the picturesque seaside village on Sunday (Mar 18) and yesterday (Mar 19).

Another 30 caravans or cabins were also lost in the fire, which left scenes of burned-out cars, blackened trees and property reduced to rubble.

While some locals were able to return on a bus tour and see what was left, safety concerns over asbestos, fallen power lines, unstable structures and other hazards mean they must wait until at least tomorrow (Mar 21) before being able to pick up the pieces.

“It’s well known that asbestos dust, which arises after asbestos is burned, is very mobile and can get into the atmosphere,” recovery coordinator Euan Ferguson told reporters, with testing under way to determine it was safe.

“It can get into the lungs and cause fatal diseases.”

Asbestos cement or sheeting, a cheap and durable material, was widely used in the Australian building industry after World War II until the 1980s.

Hundreds of evacuated residents spent yesterday night at a recovery centre at nearby Bega, under the care of charities and volunteers, as firefighters continued to tackle parts of the blaze.

“Overnight, crews have made good progress on the southern side of the fire, with containment on most of this part of the fire,” the NSW Rural Fire Service said of the blaze that has burned out more than 1,000 hectares.

QSI International School Phuket

“Crews are continuing to focus on the northern side of the fire.”

While the threat to homes had eased, authorities warned that “this may change quickly”, depending on the weather. At least five schools remained closed.

“I totally feel for what they must be going through. They must just be in total limbo,” a Tathra local identified only as John, whose house survived, told broadcaster ABC of his fellow residents.

But he said the town would “stick together and we’ll rebuild and look after one another as we always have”.

Some 40,000 hectares were also scorched in southwestern regions of neighbouring Victoria state as dozens of blazes swept through over the weekend, wiping out beef and dairy cattle.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the “unprecedented” force of the fires claimed at least 18 homes.

Despite the damage, authorities said there were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.

Experts said the infernos showed the bushfire season – which usually occurs in the summer months of December-February – was lengthening as climate change disrupts weather patterns.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Police search for man missing at Phuket reservoir

... Thousands? Really? And all for free? Wow! My point is, taking care of water quality. Not about ...(Read More)


Police search for man missing at Phuket reservoir

"It should be a no-go area" Thousands of people like to visit those areas like Bang Wad Da...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: A testament to life

Sure he was a good bloke but most readers wouldn't have known him, one story about his passing i...(Read More)


Police search for man missing at Phuket reservoir

This water reservoir is for housing water supply, right? Are private people allowed to be there, d...(Read More)


Six healthy movements to loosen your spine

OMG. Your neck in movement 2 looks terrible. Never do it like that! You should keep your neck in lin...(Read More)


Government readies handout of free SIM cards for the poor

The whole 'free internet exercise' confirm in a way that the government expects that the poo...(Read More)


New tax law to see online, bank transfers to be monitored

.... 'My' guests are 'non paying friends'. Arriving Phuket airport they hand over ...(Read More)


Thailand worst in Asean for road deaths

Anyone who has driven on Thai roads already knows this. Driving standards are abysmal, common sense ...(Read More)


Thailand worst in Asean for road deaths

Not surprising. Actually enforcing traffic laws is work! All the paperwork after someone is ticket...(Read More)