UK News Many Australians affected by the fires still live in precarious conditions

15:00  25 may  2020
15:00  25 may  2020 Source:   france24.com

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Although recent cooler conditions and rain have brought some respite, more than 50 fires are still burning in the Fires have raged near the Australian capital Canberra for weeks - at one stage The amount of land affected across the country - more than 10 million hectares - is now comparable to

"We're living in longer, hotter, drier summers," the PM said. "This is obviously affected by the broader changes in climate." Bushfire conditions eased on Saturday, giving firefighters temporary respite in areas where blazes are still raging. But with more hot weather expected next week, the risk was far

Wayne Keft, dont la maison de Cobargo, en Nouvelles-Galles du Sud, a été détruite par les incendies qui ont ravagé l'Australie fin 2019/début 2020 © Saeed KHAN Wayne Keft, whose house in Cobargo, in New South Wales, was destroyed by the fires which ravaged Australia at the end of 2019 / early 2020

During the terrible fires that ravaged Australia, many people lost everything. A few months later, they still live in tents, garages or makeshift shelters, a situation made worse by coronavirus.

Anita Lawrence et cinq de ses enfants vivent toujours, mi-mai 2020, dans ce petit abri depuis le passage des incendies en février © Saeed KHAN Anita Lawrence and five of her children are still living, in mid-May 2020, in this small shelter since the fires in February

On the southeast coast of Australia, it is in a shelter in sheet metal that Anita Lawrence and her five children are trying to protect themselves from the cold that is beginning to break in the southern hemisphere.

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The Australian study was conducted, like many others, by an international group of scientists called World Weather Attribution. Dr. van Oldenborgh said the study was the most complicated the group had ever conducted because wildfires are a complex phenomenon affected not only by heat and

Many Australians have accused Scott Morrison's government of inaction on global warming, with criticism growing as a heatwave broke records across the country and worsened the fires . Although climate change is not the direct cause of bushfires, scientists have long warned that a hotter

She was in Tasmania when the fires destroyed the materials used to build her new house.

"Everything has disappeared", says the 51-year-old mother, standing near the charred trees.

Australia experienced fires of exceptional magnitude and duration in late 2019 and early 2020 that forced thousands of people to find makeshift shelters.

This disaster has generated immense outpouring of generosity around the world as well as promises from the government.

But six months later, like this mother, who lives six hours away from Sydney, many people remain in a precarious situation.

En Australie, plusieurs mois après les incendies dévastateurs de fin 2019/début 2020, des milliers de personnes vivent toujours dans des abris de fortune © Saeed KHAN In Australia, several months after the devastating fires in late 2019 / early 2020, thousands of people are still living in makeshift shelters

"When you come back, there is so much destroyed that everything is difficult" , told AFP Ms. Lawrence installed since February in this temporary shelter.

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Weather conditions still favor fire in many parts of the country. The southeast is the most severely affected , but fires have also hit every Australian state and territory this season. Many wild animals and some farm animals have been killed directly by the flames. We can see the evidence with our

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Since March, due to the containment established to fight against the coronavirus, she no longer teaches gardening in a school, as she did a few days a week.

She managed to feed her family by drawing on her retirement savings.

However, the 50-year-old received the support of David Crooke, a local resident who, with his team, built an extension of his temporary accommodation.

Thanks to him, she now has a bathroom, heating and a bedroom.

In recent months, Mr. Crooke's small team, funded by the New South Wales state government, the Red Cross and donations, has built shelters for those who have lost everything.

David Crooke et son équipe aident les victimes les plus démunies après les incendies qui ont dévasté l'Australie, en leur construisant bénévolement des abris de fortune © Saeed KHAN David Crooke and his team help the most destitute victims after the fires which devastated Australia, by building them makeshift shelters voluntarily

"There are places which were completely destroyed", tells he.

- "Slow and difficult" -

He himself lost his house during the fires he spent his summer fighting.

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But the losses Australia is experiencing in lives and property are still staggering, and not yet over. The prolonged exposure of bushfire smoke to millions of people has raised fears of health effects that could last for years. Early this month, NASA began tracking a plume of smoke from the fires that was

Australians in major cities, not threatened by flames, are still experiencing this disastrous fire season in their lungs. Australia ’s capital, Canberra, has been blanketed by a thick haze of smoke from nearby fires for more than a week. The city recorded its worst air quality day on Jan.

Since then, he has camped in increasingly difficult conditions, moving from one place to another, to help build temporary housing.

But his equipment is dilapidated and the materials are lacking, complicating the task of his physically and emotionally tested team.

"No member of my team really owns anything (...) we work on a small week basis, we depend a lot on our pay".

Throughout the region, however, life seems to begin to take over in the middle of the landscape desolate by the flames. But it's "slow and difficult," said Wayne Keft, 66.

His house, located in Cobargo, was destroyed by "a fireball". Now he lives in a garage.

Aid for fire victims stopped flowing when global attention turned from forest fires to the coronavirus epidemic.

"The machine was very well oiled, then the Covid-19 struck, and that sort of stopped the donations," explains Mr. Hatcher, coordinator of the logistics team in charge of donations from the south coast.

Due to the virus, many associations have lost volunteers, leaving residents traumatized without any moral support, he deplores.

Tourism being prohibited until June 1 at least, this deprives this State of its main source of income.

Without wages, it is almost impossible for local businesses to obtain a loan to finance reconstruction.

After the fires, Lorena Granados and her husband set up a stand in front of what was left of their leather goods store, which had gone up in smoke.

They have since moved to a temporary room hoping to go up the slope thanks to their business.

"We were really not prepared to lose our house and our business in one day," she explains.

The virus has slowed down their activity considerably, but they are determined to fight back.

"Every day, selling just a small item encourages us to keep going."

al / arb / kaf / juf / ia

Scientists warn of 'zombie fires' in the Arctic .
Dormant "zombie fires" scattered across the Arctic region -- remnants of record blazes last year -- may be coming to life after an unusually warm and dry Spring, scientists warned Wednesday. "We have seen satellite observations of active fires that hint that 'zombie' fires might have reignited," said Mark Parrington, a senior scientist and wildfire expert at the European Union's Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service.

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