Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Australian bush-fires tragedy

We have all been shocked by the toll the bush-fires in South-East Australia has taken, with fatalities expected to rise to around 300. Arson is strongly suspected in at least some cases, and police investigations are ongoing; one alarming possibility is highlighted in This Article., but it is of course only one theory at the moment. What is certain is that people have lost their lives, their families and friends and their homes.

The Queen has sent a message of condolence and sympathy; she has also sent a private donation to aid the victims.
Gordon Brown has sent a similar message and offered help; we don't yet know how much this amounts to, but as he sent £30 million in aid to Ghaza, I hope a goodly sum will be forthcoming.

Apart from official aid, the British people are notoriously generous when it comes to helping those experiencing disasters; think of their response to appeals for African famines, earthquake areas, and the East Asian tsunami when the government had to upgrade their/our contribution to match that received in the Red Cross appeal. This time, it is Australia that needs our help.

Families across the UK who have lost relatives and friends in this tragedy are grieving; many are anxious for the safety of loved ones, and others have had no contact since the fires started. These are the families and friends left behind when their sons and daughters left to make a new life in Australia. They are our people; one Leicestershire lady has told how she had a long-distance phone call from her son who had lost his wife and children, their home, everything, in a fireball that swept through their township.

The members of Leicestershire BNP (and we rather think members nationally will join us) wish to send their condolences and deep sympathy to all those affected by this devastating tragedy. Also, our admiration for the brave people dealing with the blazes and the aftermath.

The Australian Red Cross has set up a special Appeal for donations; if you would like to help please go to their website HERE
(1 Australian Dollar = 45p)

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