Just writing that makes me feel sick.
The death toll for the fires in Victoria has passed 170, they're expecting it to top 200.
I can't stop thinking about it, people dying in cars trying to get away, people dying in their houses trying to shelter from the flames, people dying with hoses in their hand trying to fight the fires.
What happened to the preparations?
How could so many people get it wrong?
What about building bunkers or cellars to shelter in?
We talk about it, shocked, unable to comprehend.
There are always bushfires, everyone knows that, everyone knows...so how could this happen?
And then we hear
about the ferocity of the flames, the speed, some people had ninety seconds warning, the black smoke that engulfed the roads everything went pitchblack, you couldn't see and people were panicking, the car crashes and the ember attacks - showers of sparks and embers blowing against the house and windows, blown into every crack and crevice and then the windows exploded and the dying pets the children listening to their cats dying and the family who were well prepared who did everything right and built a cellar and everything
and the fire came right over the top
and the neighbour watched as the house exploded
and we found them all dead in the cellar
and the couple who took their kids to the grandparents place and went back to their house to try and save it - and were killed, and the man who took his kids to their grandparents and lost them all...
we learn of escapes, the brother who went on his tractor to get his sister and seven kids and how it took two trips to race them back to safety, a family who sheltered in a wombat hole, a mother and her kids who stayed until the house was on fire then ran through the flames wrapped in wet towels and jumped into their dam, the people who ran from house to hose as one after another caught fire, a man and a woman losing everything and everything around them but their two children and they hold each other and stroke each other and smile
and we hold onto these stories, we cling to them, these bright spots of hope, these lucky escapes, because the dreadful finality of the other is incomprehensible
and one state above, the floodwaters are starting to recede and people there are saying but we're lucky because we're not in Victoria, we're lucky