‘Apocalyptic’: these photos show the horror of Australia’s ongoing wildfires
Fire Australia - photo by Alastair Prior
The blazing wildfires in Australia have been described as apocalyptic, with a seven-day state of emergency announced in the region of New South Wales
An estimated 500 million animals have been killed in Australia’s wildfires since the beginning of the country’s summer season.
At least 18 people are dead, while 17 others are missing.
Not only that, but more than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, some towns are without power, and others are facing food and water shortages. According to the AFP, the fires have scorched approximately 5.5 million hectares (13.5 million acres) – an area bigger than Denmark or the Netherlands.
In the coastal town of Mallacoota, in the region of Victoria, residents and tourists were forced to escape by boat as all roads had been blocked by flames. The Australian defence force sent ships and helicopters to rescue those who were stranded.
State of emergency
Now, with temperatures expected to exceed 40 Celsius by Saturday, Australian officials predict the death toll and fire damage will worsen. In New South Wales, a seven-day state of emergency has been declared because of a significant and widespread danger to life.
The state of emergency will allow the country’s emergency services to close and re-open roads at will. What’s more, emergency personnel can forcibly evacuate members of the public from any at-risk areas.
Gladys Berejiklian, the region’s political leader, said, “We don’t take these decisions lightly but we also want to make sure we’re taking every single precaution to be prepared for what could be a horrible day on Saturday.”
On new year’s day, the smoke and flames became so dense that an eery red glow engulfed south-eastern Australia. Eye-witnesses took to social media to share what they described as ‘apocalyptic’ scenes. Given the dark red hue, it’s hard to fathom how these photos were taken during the day.
As the fires rage on, Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison has come under intense scrutiny by the electorate. Not only did the Liberal Party leader venture on a family holiday to Hawaii at the beginning of the wildfire crisis, but he also continues to deny climate change is a cause.
Most recently, while visiting the affected town of Cobargo, Morrison was told by locals, “You won’t be getting any votes around here, buddy. You’re an idiot.”
Feature photo: Alastair Prior