The Australian authorities ordered this Thursday the evacuation of thousands of people because of forest fires in the southeast of the country, at least eight fatalities have been claimed since Monday, and the threat of aggravation in the next two days.
In the state of New South Wales, the most affected by the fires that have burned since the southern spring, in September, the state of emergency due to forecasts of temperatures above 40 degrees and strong winds on the southern coast. The measure will allow New South Wales firefighters to carry out forced evacuations in the face of the progress of fires, which have already killed 17 people across the country and destroyed more than 1,300 homes, 400 of them destroyed during the last days in the southeast from the country.
«The priority today is fight the fire and evacuate the population To put her safe. What is absolutely important is that we continue to carry out these important tasks, “said Asutralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, to a group of journalists while visiting some of the areas affected by the fires.
The authorities of New South Wales and the neighboring state of Victoria, in which one person died this week and another 17 have disappeared from the fires, have especially asked tourists to leave the danger zones.
Meanwhile, in the coastal town of Mallacoota, where about 1,000 locals and 3,000 tourists are trapped, preparations are being made for a navy ship take over the first of several mass evacuations starting Friday morning, as announced by the head of state government of Victoria, Daniel Andrews. Only a few elderly or sick people will be evacuated by air from Mallacoota, where smoke and weather conditions have prevented helicopters from operating.
This Thursday, a temperature drop It has facilitated the conditions for evacuation, so thousands of people took the roads to try to escape from the southeast coast, but those conditions are fleeting and are expected to worsen in the coming days. The mass exodus has congested the roads, some of which run through winding mountains, and has caused a great demand for food and fuel in the area.
Lorena Granados and Gaspar Román, a couple of Salvadoran and Chilean origin who at the end of the year lost her house and her business in the town of Mogo as a result of the fires, are among the people who have left the town, reduced to “a battlefield”. Granados told Efe that her husband “begins to realize, as expected (of his family tragedy), and is destroyed and can hardly resist. I have cried a lot and I am ready to face reality ».
Australian authorities fear that several fires burning in the state of Victoria will merge or cross the New South Wales border. Likewise, the threat of fire has caused the declaration of alert status in the Australian Capital Territory, to which Canberra belongs, while on the island of Tasmania an emergency has been declared due to a focus that burns uncontrollably in the vicinity of its capital, Hobart.
At the other end of the country, in the state of Western Australia, a fire that burns out of control threatens a roadside restaurant on the border with South Australia, which is also preparing to cope with temperatures above 40 degrees. Faced with the severity of the fires, Scott Morrison will meet Monday with the National Security Committee to address the federal government response to these fires that are normally fought at the state level and that are expected to burn for many more months.
The president, a defender of the coal industry and strongly criticized for his climate policy, said that “there is no doubt that they are natural disasters”, insisting that global climate change is not linked to a particular incidence of forest fires.