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No Recession In Generosity Among Australians

If the level of generosity and sharing amongst Australians in response to the bushfires is anything to go by, we've really nothing to worry about. Donations of more than $31 million have already been made to the victim's appeals, and other countries including New Zealand and the US are generously providing assistance for what is to come next.

An example where a radio station put out a call for 2 containers of items for the victims resulted in 10 containers filled within a few hours. The big four banks donated a million dollars each.

The government has allocated some of the stimulus package to rebuild homes and schools destroyed in the inferno.

It won't go far to replace lost property with so many homes, farms and businesses destroyed and it can never replace lost loved ones and neighbours.

The one thing I can't fathom though is why anybody would stay and try and fight these fires. Better to do it as a volunteer firefighter. There are too few stories of homeowners successfully defending and surviving and too many who didn't.

One lucky soul, in an illustration of how surreal it was, is a man who survived with a neighbour defending his house as all the houses in the street including his own, were destroyed. Immediately after the firestorm passed he walked around videoing the scene giving us a bizarre tour of his totally devastated home and neighbourhood, everything reduced to ashes on the ground and still burning fiercely. It was meant to convince his absent partner of the loss of their home, as even he found it unreal and difficult to believe. He then set off to see who he might be able to help, oblivious to the pain of his burned face and commenting casually as someone's abandoned car blew up. Some survived the loss of scores of their neighbours in a single street.

Many countries live with fire, but some terrain and hot temperatures can transform a fire into something which really requires a new definition. There are no words.

The terrifying thing is that these Australian fires will not be under control before the next hot weather hits and we could be facing the same thing again, not in a year or ten, but in a few days.

It's a great lesson as to why we need to stick together, as these Australian fires often burn an area which would cross several European countries. The many and various forces of nature once unleashed are more than any small nation could hope to recover from, without the help of friends.

P.S.

Five days later the donations stand at over $100 million. A drop in the ocean of losses, but very good for the spirit. The weather has also been kinder.

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