News World Australia's bushfire-stricken state pays tribute to 25 victims

Australia’s bushfire-stricken state pays tribute to 25 victims

Families, firefighters and politicians gathered in a solemn public ceremony in Sydney on Sunday to honour the 25 people killed in recent bushfires that tore through the country’s most populous state.

The bushfires, which lasted from September until torrential rains hit earlier this month, killed 33 people and a billion native animals nationally and destroyed 2,500 homes and a wilderness area the size of South Korea.

The damage was most devastating in New South Wales state. Among the 25 people killed there were 19 civilians, three local volunteer firefighters and three U.S. firefighters.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who thanked those who fought the blazes and honoured those who died, spoke of “children kissing the coffins of their fathers” and “mothers who should have never had to bury their children”.

He told the public, gathered around lit candles, of “a summer where the dark sky turned black and sunsets only signalled another night of terror, where the fire crashed on our beaches from the bush that surrounded them”.

Morrison has drawn public anger for his refusal to directly link the bushfires to climate change, insisting removing flammable vegetation is “just as important, if not more”.

His management of the fires also came under criticism over the unusually prolonged summer wildfire season, when he was forced into a rare public apology for taking a holiday to Hawaii.

Last week, he said Australia would conduct a wide-ranging inquiry into the causes of the fires.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, who played a very public role during the crisis, said the season will be remembered as one of the most challenging, in which the loss of life was enormous.

“Each one of those is a story of grief, of profound loss, and great sadness, of lives cut short, and of families being changed forever,” Fitzsimmons said.

Six pairs of boots were placed to symbolise the lives of the three Australian volunteers and the three U.S. firefighters who died in NSW.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Labour Ministry: Special leave requests for parents

The Labour Minister's decision on the special allowance for parents looking after their children because schools have closed has been published in the special...

UK universities minister tells students ‘stay where you are’

Michelle Donelan, the UK's minister of state for universities, has told students at English Universities who are still in halls of residence or private...

U.S. coronavirus cases surge past 115,000; Trump mulls New York quarantine

The number of known coronavirus U.S. cases soared well past 115,000, with more than 1,900 dead, as President Donald Trump said on Saturday he...

UK will have done well if fewer than 20,000 die, NHS medical director says

The United Kingdom will have done well if it comes through the coronavirus crisis with fewer than 20,000 deaths, Stephen Powis, the national medical...

Lombardy coronavirus deaths near 6,000 as Italy mulls extending lockdown

Italy's Lombardy region, which has borne the worst of the coronavirus contagion, recorded 542 new deaths on Saturday as the national government was said...

Taste

Village salad

A must-have with every meal is a village salad. You will find it in every tavern or greek restaurant you visit in Cyprus. Make...

Courgettes with eggs

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the courgettes at a medium heat until they soften. Add salt and add the eggs....

Classic Pastitsio

Prepare the mince sauce: heat the butter in a pan and sauté the mince with the onion and garlic until nicely browned, mixing well....

Grilled vegetable and goat cheese rolls

Brush the vegetables with olive oil and season. Heat a pan/griddle and cook them carefully until golden on both sides, making sure their shape...