On 10/02/2009, at 9:17 AM, Rceeberger wrote:
> There are towns in southern Australia where they won't let people  
> back in,
> due to the numbers of bodies still lying in the streets.

They have to let the forensics teams in first.

> These towns are all
> quite rural, and there is just no way any governmental entities  
> could be
> prepared for such a death toll over a broad area.

It's rural, but it's only spitting distance from Melbourne. Kinglake,  
which was razed, is on my local cycling club's weekly training  
circuit, and we're in suburbia. It's hard for people who haven't been  
to Oz to appreciate how fast the population density drops off as one  
heads out of the city. Maybe it's similar in parts of the USA, say  
coming out of Oklahoma City maybe (I'm guessing - someone help me  
out!), but the contrast between a city of 3.5 million and the tiny  
hamlets outside the 50km radius from the city is quite marked.
>
> I really feel for their Prime Minister. Regardless of his politics,  
> his
> humanity shows as he is completely lost for words and trying to hold  
> back
> tears. (Watching news from there is hard, they have so much pain to  
> deal
> with.)

There's been hardly anyone able to speak without a quiver in their  
voice. I found out today that the guys I go to footie with lost  
several friends. We'll all be at the Melbourne - Adelaide match this  
Saturday. It's going to be a very weird affair.
>
> Australia always stands with and by us though all sorts of ordeals.  
> Anyone
> know of a good way an American can be helpful?

Australian Red Cross is managing the appeal. You can donate online:
http://www.redcross.org.au/vic/services_emergencyservices_victorian-bushfires-appeal-2009.htm

Or give something to your local volunteer fire service. In a few  
months, it'll be the northern hemisphere on fire.

Charlie.
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