Australia fires


The wildfires fanned by dry hot weather in Australia represent an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe of enormous proportions. The blood-red skies, spreading fires with apocalyptic fury, black smoke-filled atmosphere and kangaroos indigenous to Australia hopping to safety (or being not able to make it) bespeak the intensity of the fires and overwhelm us with awe. Smoke from the fire has reached as far as Chile and Argentina.

It is next to impossible to comprehend or assess the scale of the disaster. The official casualty figure has reached 28. The timely evacuation of entire communities has saved lives before they were engulfed by the blazing inferno. The extreme bushfires have charred vast tracts of lands, mainly in New South Wales and Queensland beyond recognition. One estimate puts the charred area at about 13 million hectares. The raging fires have ripped through natural habitats of innumerable species of flora and fauna, resulting in the depletion of their numbers. Millions of animals are feared to have perished in the fires.

Inevitably, the air quality is at a hazardous level; smoke-filled atmosphere has caused a health crisis. Air pollution caused by the mega fires is so bad that there has been a rise in lung-related diseases in fire-ravaged areas. The unprecedented fires spurred by high temperatures have crippled the Australian economy; the Aussies indeed need a lot of generous donations for economic regeneration. It is heartening to know that the world’s top players in various games are planning ‘exhibition matches’ to raise funds for the post-fire reconstruction of Australia. The fires are a wake-up call to Australia; it has to now drastically reduce its export of coal and its carbon emissions to secure a relatively safer future.

G. David Milton

Maruthancode, Tamil Nadu

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 2:03:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/letters/australia-fires/article30552864.ece

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