10 January 2020
Good evening to everybody who has taken the time to stop by (and thank you!).
I hope this post finds you happy and well. If not, I hope that things improve for you very soon.
As always, I welcome messages from everybody. If you need a vent or a chat, flick me a message. If you just want to say hi, message me 😊
I really would like everybody to know... you are NOT alone and there is somebody in this big, harsh world, who does care.
So, to begin this blog post, I would like to talk about Australia. I was, as per my last post, born and raised in New Zealand. It is a wonderful place full of glorious landscapes and amazing people.
Today however, the country I live in, Australia is in the middle of a horrific nationwide disaster.
The weather in Australia is always extreme. From extreme cold to extreme heat, it fluctuates daily in some places and it is always interesting when it is 45 degrees one day and then freezing the next.
Bone dry conditions coupled with expansive bush-land make fire seasons horrid for people and animals alike.
The fires in Australia this year (and the end of last) have been catastrophic. There have been fires burning in different parts of the country for months and the emergency services have done an amazing job (and continue to do so).
Now, the fires have spread and intensified. Unfortunately, some have decided that lighting fires is the way to go (Top tip- It’s not). Aside from these people; we have lightening, dry conditions, wind and there are embers from active fires blowing from spot to spot and creating more fires.
As I write this post, there are many burning across Australia; I am not even sure how many at this point. Some spot fires, some bigger and some mega fires that create their own storms (not a joke, look it up).
Most parts of the country are covered with thick clouds of smoke from these bushfires.
Smoke has reached New Zealand, which does show just how bad these fires are. I have seen online that over a Billion animals have been lost so far in this season’s fires and the numbers continue to grow by the minute. People have lost their lives to fire; this includes emergency services (firefighters) and civilians. Homes/property has been lost.
Firefighters from all backgrounds and states, and even civilians (staying to protect property rather than evacuating) are try their very best to fight these beastly fires and they are exhausted. Countries (forgive me if I leave anyone out) including New Zealand, Canada and America have send us Firefighters and military to assist (thank you!) and even with the extra help, our firefighters are struggling.
Some of the volunteer firefighters, do not have proper equipment and I have read that some have only paper masks to keep them safe from these deadly fires. Some have only one set of firefighting clothes. They can wash them and maybe not have them ready for their next shift, or they can wear them again dirty.
Firefighting boots are melting… let that sink in for a moment.
People dead, animals’ dead, paper masks, melting boots, uncontrollable fires, exhausted firefighters and millions of hectares burnt to the ground.
It really is a terrible situation.
There are many people blaming the Australian government for not doing more. There are people blaming God. There are others blaming climate change.
Conversations that do need to be had; but I think that this is not the time.
Right now, this moment, with much of the country on fire; people and animals losing their lives and homes and with brave men and women going out there day in and day out, at enormous personal risk; the focus should be on helping those affected, helping those who are protecting others and keeping everybody safe.
Right now, the focus should be on extinguishing fires. The focus should be on evacuating the many, many people and animals who are in danger.
There are places where people have been told it is too late to leave.
The way in and out blocked by heat and flames. Some of these people had to evacuate to the beach in their town, they were told that the only option that was left, was to get into the water. They sat for days on that beach, waiting to be evacuated.
I read last night, the fires in that town have been put out and people rescued. The fire service, CFA and other organisations have done an AMAZING job. Not only in this town, but in all places where the landscape is burning or is a high risk area.
The thing is ... it is not only one small town on the coast. There are other towns in the same situation, where it is so bad, all they can do is flee to water and wait.
This country desperately needs a break. These firefighters and those who have come assist from overseas, desperately need a break. Unfortunately, the fires continue to spread.
Many people are fundraising for the CFA, the fire services, Wildlife charities and more. People from all walks of life. From ordinary Australians, celebrities, charities, people overseas. From large donations to small $5 donations. Everything is needed and everything is appreciated.
They say that the worst times can bring out the best in people. So many have donated goods, time, money and more and continue to do so and I am sure I am not the only person who appreciates it.
I have joined the #AuthorsForFireys auction on twitter. Authors, Illustrators, Editors, Publishers and more are auctioning items and services with all money going to the CFA to help them in their fight to keep us all safe.
I have signed copies of my books up for auction and many others have amazing prizes up for auction. Bidding ends 11th January 2019 at 11pm. Pop over to twitter to take part, search the trending hashtag #AuthorsforFireys to find some amazing items. Place your bid on the twitter threads and at the close, the highest bidder wins.
This huge auction is a great way to support the CFA, who are working so hard and at the same time grab a few nifty items for yourself.
To see my auction, search TPageWriter0 on Twitter.
Why have I told you all the above in today's blog post?
It is a national disaster and though it is not a nice thing to be listening
As I write this post, the emergency app on my phone is pinging at me. It shows me a map of the state of Victoria. On that map are large areas marked in red and black. The app is sending alerts for controlled and uncontrolled fires in my state. It is sending me air quality warnings because of smoke drifting into Melbourne from around the country.
Even those who are not in the mist of the fires, are getting poor and hazardous air quality. My area is supposed to get poor to very poor air quality in the next day or so.
So inside with the doors and windows shut up, no air conditioner and carrying around a puffer, this asthmatic will be.
It has been affecting my breathing in the last week and the nearest fire to me is a few hours away. I can only imagine how bad it is for those closer to the fires and those fighting them.
My heart is breaking for this country, it’s people, it’s animals. It has been my home for the last nine or so years and really is a beautiful place.
Thank you all for sticking with me this far into this post.
It is not the nicest thing to be reading about and I am sure you have been watching the news, reading posts on social media or feeling the effects yourself but it is a reality for so many and so many do need support.
I do think that there are many things that need talking about, these catastrophic fires have brought to the surface many things that do need addressing. In time, when people are safe, I hope they can be discussed.
For now, we can only plan, stay alert, be prepared and help when, where and who we can.
We need people to continue working together and we need buckets and buckets of rain.
Anything that people can do (big or small) is a help at this point. Some are able to contribute with cash (every dollar helps!), some can contribute goods and services, some are able to contribute time and work and some may be able to lend a sofa/bed or listening air to those who have lost everything. Whatever it is that people can contribute is needed, appreciated and amazing <3
Below are the events and the organizations I personally am trying to contribute to, although there are many more.
In the next blog post, coming soon I will be writing about chronic Illness and emergency situations. How do I prepare for natural disaster with my chronic illness? How do I prepare for the unexpected?
Keep a look our for that post 😊
I hope that it might give ideas to those with additional needs or illness; that it might help someone to be better prepared. So much to do, so little time but if you are ready, it is a little easier.
For now, I leave you with the links I mentioned, and I wish you all safety, calm and love.
If you have been affected by the Australia fires/current situation and need me to help you find resources, please message me. If you need to chat/vent, message me. My inbox is always open.
To all those men and women who are bravely fighting, working past the point of exhaustion and keeping us safe - From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU all, you are doing an amazing job <3
With much, much love to all.
Country Fire Authority (CFA) https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/donate1
Victorian Bushfire Appeal https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal