Boats and military helicopters have rescued in the last hours thousands of people trapped by forest fires in southeast Australia, as in other cities of the country have formed long queues in supermarkets and service stations, in search of basic supplies and shelter to escape the fire. More than 50,000 people without power and thousands of residents can't access clean water. Tens of thousands of people remained this Thursday, the flight of the forest fires that burn with renewed virulence from last Monday and have already claimed the lives of at least 17 people across the country.
MORE INFORMATIONfires in Australia, in images The perfect storm sets in Australia Australia declares state of emergency for the fires in the east of the country
As reported by the australian authorities, five military helicopters helped crews of firefighters to carry water and fuel to those affected by the fires in the south coast of the country. The vehicles will also serve to continue with the evacuation of the wounded, the elderly and children affected by the emergency. The security forces have urged a “mass exodus” in several cities in the southeast coast —an area popular with tourists during the summer holiday that are enjoyed in the southern hemisphere— and have warned that the forecast of extreme heat for the weekend will ignite even more fires. Driven by high temperatures, prolonged drought and strong winds, more than 200 fires remained Thursday, assets in the States of New South Wales and Victoria.
The fires have already destroyed more than 1,300 homes and, since the start of the season last September, have already consumed about four million of hectares of bushland across the country. “The priority today is to fight the fires and evacuate, bringing people to a place of safety”, explained the prime minister, Scott Morrison. Neighbors of the town of Cobargo, New South Wales, increparon this Thursday at Morrison when he visited the town. “You should be ashamed” for leaving “the country is burning”, yelled some citizens. Morrison has been accused of a lack of decisive action to help communities to deal with the hundreds of fires that have razed the country in the last few months.
The threat of aggravation of the situation in the next few days persists. In the State of New South Wales, the most affected by the fires, the Government has stated, since last Friday, the state of emergency due to forecasts of temperatures expected to exceed 40 degrees celsius. The authorities have taken control of the services and have the power to evacuate “by force” to the inhabitants of the affected areas.Michelle Roberts, a resident of Mallacoota, a coastal city in southeastern australian explained to the Reuters news agency: “it Is hell on earth. It is the worst thing that anyone has ever seen,” he said. A boat military arrived this Thursday to that city, where about 4,000 people had been stranded on the beach since Monday night.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the region of East Gippsland, in Victoria, in one of the biggest operations of its kind in the country, since in 1974 the city of Darwin to evacuate more than 35,000 people following cyclone Tracy. A contingent of 39 u.s. firefighter landed on Thursday in Melbourne to help in the extinction.Updated Date: 03 January 2020, 11:00