News World Australia's bushfire-stricken east welcomes drenching rain

Australia’s bushfire-stricken east welcomes drenching rain

Intense thunderstorms with heavy rains dampened bushfires on Australia’s east coast on Friday to the relief of exhausted firefighters, and farmers battling years of drought.

Australia, famous for its pristine beaches and wildlife, has been fighting bushfires since September, with fires killing 29 people and millions of animals, and destroying more than 2,500 homes while razing an area roughly a third the size of Germany.

Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, three of the most affected states by drought and bushfires welcomed the drenching rain this week, with fire services saying the falls will not extinguish all the blazes, but will aid greatly containment.

“Our fingers are crossed that this continues over the coming days,” New South Wales fire services said on Twitter on Friday.

Severe storms are forecast to continue in many fire-stricken regions of New South Wales and Queensland, including areas that have not seen heavy falls for years, Bureau of Meteorology in NSW said, easing slightly the state’s three-year drought.

“The recent rain has just been absolutely fantastic,” said cattle farmer Sam White near the town of Guyra in nothern NSW.

“It’s producing significant amounts of runoff, which is what we need, and it’s getting into our dams.

While the wet weather brings relief to fire fighters and drought-hit farmers, it also comes with dangers, such as flash flooding and falling trees, many structurally destroyed by the intense bushfires. One wildlife park had to rescue koalas from floowaters and beat back crocodiles with brooms.

The heavy downpours have helped to clean smoky air in Australia, but Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne remained on Friday in the world’s top 100 polluted cities, according to AirVisual’s pollution ranking for major global cities.

Melbourne, sheathed by a tick smoke earlier in the week that disrupted the Australian Open qualifying matches and other sporting competitions, is forecast to again be blanketed by unhealthy air over the weekend when the grand slam begins.

The smoke haze that has plagued Australia’s major cities for weeks has been tracked by NASA circumnavigating the globe and the space agency satellites showed on Thursday there is also a large concentration of lower smoke over the Pacific Ocean.

Following are some highlights of what is happening in the bushfire crisis:

* There were 82 fires burning across New South Wales early Friday, 30 uncontained, and several fires in Victoria, according to fire authorities.

* An emergency evacuation order issued for parts of Victoria’s northeast with an out-of-control bushfire threatening the Buffalo River Valley.

* Firefighters, family and the local community of Holbrook in New South Wales farewelled on Friday Samuel McPaul, a 28-year-old volunteer who died in December while fighting a massive and fast-moving blaze.

* Australia will have to wait until March for rains heavy enough to bring sustained relief from dry weather that has fuelled deadly bushfires, the country’s weather bureau said on Thursday.

* Australia’s peak tourism body estimated the country’s bushfire crisis has so far cost the industry almost A$1 billion ($690 million).

* Qualifying rounds of Australian Open in Melbourne, the first tennis Grand Slam of the year, blighted by complaints from players about the pollution.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Government says continuing demarches on crossing points

    Demarches continue on the part of the government of Cyprus, both with the United Nations and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in relation to...

Cyprus to establish a Deputy Ministry of Culture

    Cabinet has decided to go ahead with the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Culture, Deputy Government Spokesman Panayiotis Sentonas said on Wednesday. “Following a...

Merkel urges greater EU unity in face of coronavirus crisis

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday laid out a vision of greater unity and democracy to ensure the European Union emerges stronger from the...

Lidl Cyprus supports ‘Save our Food’ programme with more than 3000 breakfasts

  Within the framework of the Save Our Food programme and with a sense of responsibility towards society, Lidl Cyprus has proceeded in providing breakfast ...

Harvard, MIT seek temporary halt to Trump administration rule on international students

  Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have asked a federal court to temporarily block a Trump administration rule that would bar foreign students...

Taste

How to make triandafillo ice cream, by UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin

  Just in time for the scorching heat, UK Cypriot chef Loulla Astin has shared her recipe for refreshing triantafillo ice cream -- or as...

Cyprus sprouts with cream and prosciutto

In a big, deep frying pan, fry the prosciutto in the olive oil, on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the onion and garlic...

Pork burger with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and anchovies

Mix all the ingredients together with the mince in a bowl, and combine well. Divide into 4 balls and form the burgers. Warm a griddle/pan...

Sheftalies

Wash the lamb cauls with plenty of cold water and let them settle in water and vinegar for a little while. Soak the bread crumbs...