Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Trouble at home

When I left Melbourne, I was a little bit scared that at some point on my trip I would come to harm. Now, Victoria is burning and I'm safe as houses half a world away. I know my family is safe at the moment - although fires came kind of close a few years ago, my parents live on the border of an urban area. But it would be fair to say that almost everyone in Victoria knows someone who lives in or near the areas that have been ravaged. I have people I really love who live in the middle of dry and isolated country areas. It's terrifying not knowing where the fires are or what's going on. I'm in a house with three Australians at the moment and new numbers have been continually popping up. 40 dead. 75 dead. Over 100. More bodies found. I've been checking The Age as often as possible, but we're still so far away it just doesn't seem real.

It's dreadful to hear of people who stayed just a fraction too long at their houses. Or people that stayed because they didn't have insurance and thought they could defend their homes. Or people who just couldn't outrun the flames. I remember watching the glow from the fires in Linton once. It was just that to us - a glow - but it was frightening enough. I never had any doubt that if fires came close we'd just leave. We'd never be able to defend our house, we're next to a park and there is just too much vegetation around. We have no water pumps, just a small tank and a hose. But which way would we go? Where would we head? We'd have to check that our Aunt was ok. The thought of all the choices and decisions that would need to be made in such a pressurised situation is awful.

So, with no real idea of what's going on at home, I hope that the news doesn't get worse and I hope the people I love are safe.

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