Thursday, February 19, 2009

Please excuse our smoking...

...we are trying to give up.

"Smoke from the 2009 Victorian bushfires spreads over the Tasman Sea and New Zealand. The imagery was acquired by the Aqua satellite, and is at 500m resolution. The image was the MODIS picture of the day on 10 February 2009."

One bizarre measure of the current and recent Victorian bushfires is the fact that the smoke reached our trans-Tasman neighbours, the New Zealanders, as I said before, over 2,000 km (1,200 miles) away.

Photo from here, and the Wiki page is a good summary of the story as it continues to unfold.

One bit of 'good' news is that the current expectation of the death toll will be less than the 300 expected - still much greater than (for instance) the 52 killed in the 2005 London bombings. Obviously only a fool competes in disaster, but it's worth mentioning, I think, as many people overseas don't realise the severity of shock across the Australian nation.

(On a practical, quantifiable level, the Australian Parliament was suspended, currently over 500 people have been injured, one firefighter, from Canberra, killed, nearly 2,000 homes destroyed, countless cattle animals etc. and over seven and a half thousand people rendered homeless. It's on a war scale.)

And as I write, those in Queensland and New South Wales are facing weather and water problems of their own.

However the stunning generosity from within Australia and overseas has shown a big positive. If that's you, thank you.


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