Those affected by the bush fires in Australia were in our prayers this Sunday. Judith Purling, wife our former minister Rev. David Purling, sends us this harrowing, first-hand account:
"Thank you for all your emails and enquiries about our safety. We are not in danger.
Where to start? Locally, here in South Australia there have been fires in the hills in the fruit orchards and vineyards.
It is prime agricultural land and now it is blackened with skeletal remains of trees and vines (well the posts).Several small towns were
evacuated and many homes lost. It is quite eerie to see all the hills just black.
Some of you have been with us to Kangaroo Island and will remember that we went to the Flinders Chase National Park, well that half of the island
has burnt. Homes and farms have been destroyed and all the tourism infrastructure has gone. Because it is the summer vacation KI is always
busy with visitors. They have been asked to leave the island and the ferry has been bringing people with boats and caravans etc back to the mainland.
All unnecessary travel to the island has been forbidden. A cruise ship, the Vasgo De Garma was scheduled to visit the island but was asked instead to help
with the evacuation. Our air quality has been poor with the smoke blowing across the water.
In New South Wales the fires have been burning for 51 days and no end is in sight. Along the coast the fires are raging through small towns towards the sea and people had to get to the sea and were evacuated by the navy by helicopter, and ships. In some places people were advised to leave but many have no fuel for their vehicles as the fuel tankers haven't been able to refill the tanks because the highways have been closed. Mobile phone towers have been destroyed so there is no coverage, power lines have burnt and the pipes which take water from the reservoirs have been damaged so the water supply is low. The local dams are empty because the fire planes have scooped up all the water. The situation is dire everywhere. There are still fires in Victoria.
Our city/suburban fire brigades are paid but the Country Fire Service is all voluntary. They are exhausted because this has been going on for weeks. They are very brave people putting their lives at risk to help others. Many have lost income and many have lost their own homes and some have lost their lives. As you can imagine the loss of wildlife is terrible, koalas, kangaroos and wombats to name a few have been burnt by the hundreds. Famers and vets are euthanising injured animals, sheep and cattle as well as alpacas and goats and so on.
I'm sorry it isn't more cheery news but that is how it is.
Love to you all,