‘People don’t mind taking some hard punches for the right reasons.’
– Christopher X. Shade
Information true at the time of writing (31/01/2019 – 13:00).
Now I know most people are usually working on New Year’s Resolutions in January – and I’m sure I will post something about this at a later date.
But right now, I want to take some time out to acknowledge the truly horrific bushfire season Australia is currently suffering from.
Fires of this intensity, size and duration are unprecedented, with Australia already seeing multiple fatalities and homes lost – and we’re only one month into summer.
Due to our record-low rainfall, soil moisture at all-time lows, and dry and windy conditions across the country, Australia is not set for relief any time soon.
At the time of writing (updated 05/01/2020), the losses are as follows:
|STATE||DEATHS||MISSING||HOMES LOST||HECTARES (h) BURNED|
Do You Have A Bushfire Survival Plan?
There are a lot of questions surrounding why Australia is currently experiencing such a horrific bushfire season, and what is going to be done to contain this.
But as the country gears up for what is looking to be like an historic bushfire season, my question to you is this:
Do you have a Bushfire Survival Plan?
All states have a Fire Service with available information regarding Survival Plans – and it is worth being prepared.
The best way to keep updated is to follow, subscribe and check your state Fire Service – they will usually have the most up-to-date information available.
You can also find out your area’s ABC radio frequency – ABC is the official emergency broadcaster in South Australia and many other states.
This may help if you don’t have access to your phone or internet.
What Is Being Done:
As of December, Australia has declared a ‘State of Emergency’ in New South Wales, granting powers to the NSW RFS Commissioner – meaning they can now allocate government resources and direct agencies to take immediate action regarding the crisis.
In New South Wales, where the country has been hit the hardest, there are over 2,000 firefighters working to gain control of the fires – along with aid from the US, Canada and New Zealand being sent in.
The Australian Defence Force has also been deployed, including Naval vessels, Airforce crafts and Army personnel to help with search-and-rescue, firefighting and clean-up efforts.
Multiple GoFundMe and Facebook Fundraiser pages have been set up to help ordinary people donate (Megastar P!nk even donated $500,000), including Celeste Barber’s fundraiser, which has raised over $16 million at the time of writing (05/01/2020).
Climate Change & The Bushfire Crisis:
Whether or not you believe in Climate Change or not, I think we can all agree that these bushfires aren’t normal. If you don’t believe in Climate Change, feel free to skip this section – but it is still something I want to touch on.
I thought I would simply share some of the key findings of the Climate Council’s briefing paper, titled ‘This is Not Normal‘ – and you can all do what you like with that information.
The catastrophic, unprecedented fire conditions currently affecting New South Wales and Queensland have been aggravated by climate change.
Bushfire risk was exacerbated by record breaking drought, very dry fuels and soils, and record breaking heat.
Bushfire conditions are now more dangerous than in the past.
The risks to people and property have increased and fire seasons have lengthened. It is becoming more dangerous to fight fires in Australia.
The fire season has lengthened so substantially that it has already reduced opportunities for fuel reduction burning.
This means it is harder to prepare for worsening conditions.
The costs of fighting fires are increasing.
Australia relies on resource sharing arrangements between countries and states and territories within Australia.
As seasons overlap and fires become more destructive, governments will be increasingly constrained in their ability to share resources ad the costs of tackling fires will increase.
The government must develop an urgent plan to:
(1) prepare Australian communities, health and emergency services for escalating fire danger; and
(2) rapidly phase out the burning of coal and gas which is driving more dangerous fires.
But most importantly:
Please stay safe. Have a plan. Talk to your loved ones about it. Keep your property clear of anything that can fuel a bushfire. Check the warnings and know when to leave, before it’s too late.
Nothing is more important than the lives of you and your family.
Sources For Above Table:
A review of: Cilka’s Journey – By Heather Morris.
Historical Fiction, Romance, Holocaust
GET IT HERE:
Cilka’s Journey, by Heather Morris, is the sequel to ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz‘, which is based on true stories from World War II in Nazi Germany.
The novel follows the journey of Cilka Klein, who is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp when she is just 16 years old. When she arrives, Commandant Schwarzhuber notices her beautiful long hair and separates her from the other prisoners.
Cilka suffers ongoing sexual abuse from two S.S. Officers and is given horrific tasks, which she must do to survive. But these tasks and her perceived position of power create feelings of anger from the other prisoners.
When Auschwitz-Birkenau is finally liberated when Cilka is 18, she is condemned for her role at the Concentration Camp. Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sentenced to 15 years hard labour in a Siberian Prison Camp – Vorkuta.
Imprisoned once again, and guilty only of surviving, Cilka faces challenges both new, and yet also horrendously familiar. She finds herself taken under the wing of the female doctor at the camp, and begins training as a nurse, determined to help others survive.
Cilka’s story is one strength, determination and survival, even in the harshest of circumstances.
Just like ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’, ‘Cilka’s Journey’ saddened me deeply. Her story is one of many million suffering souls, forced to experience the unbearable.
The novel carried over nicely from the first installment, with flashbacks of Cilka’s time in Auschwitz-Birkenau to provide context and perspective. The Author, Heather Morris, did her research (and well) – providing a harrowing experience of what life must have been like for thousands of people post-war.
My only criticism of this book is the same one I had for ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz‘, which was that the novel sometimes seemed rushed – especially toward the end. It seemed as though the ending was squashed in as an afterthought, becoming a tad predictable.
That being said, ‘Cilka’s Journey’ was still an exceptionally moving, heartbreaking and gut-wrenching account of the atrocities of both during and after World War II.
Whether you have read the first novel or not, ‘Cilka’s Journey’ is worth the read.
‘Better to be strong than pretty and useless.’
– Lilith Saintcrow
‘When you’re in survival mode, you numb yourself.’
– Clemantine Wamariya