So many good people
We were evacuated over the weekend with the fire threat. Although it was a time filled with nervous energy and tension, the experience has left me filled with gratitude to our friends, family, volunteers and strangers who were all there to help.
The offers of beds to stay was overwhelming, not only for us but for any of our friends that might need a bed as well. When we went to the Wodonga Showgrounds to register our evacuation we found out we were at the wrong place. But the volunteers there were so kind and kept offering us supplies of any description. We didn't need anything but I relented when offered a toy each for the kids. The toys were a welcome distraction over the next few days.
I gave them a cash donation and headed to the Cube to register. Again we were greeted by friendly volunteers. A beautiful lady asked me do I need this, do I need that, and went through a long list. Again we didn't need anything but I got a little emotional because the generosity overwhelmed me. So then she offered me a hug. I said OK to that, it was a good hug.
While there I spoke to Albury Mayor Kevin Mack about the generosity of people and how they had been opening up their homes to strangers. He suggested their needs to be some regulation, especially in reference to those offering to complete strangers on Facebook, because of the danger it could present to both parties involved. That's a fair point I thought. He also gave me a hug before leaving.
We are back home now but haven't unpacked as we are still under "watch and act". If we have to leave again, at least we won't feel so much apprehension because we know we will be well looked after.
Kylie Esler, Mount Beauty
Time to come home
The dangers facing Australia as a nation most seriously affected by climate change are there for all to see, and currently exacting a terrible toll on our forests, wildlife, settlements and farms. There are many lessons to be learnt, and should be political costs for those who have refused to see the danger and invest in sufficient resources to respond to and fight such catastrophic fires.
While it may be too late to prevent the "climate emergency", this is certainly the time to demand action to reduce Australia's emissions. If the taxpayer must now find money for the government's bushfire recovery fund, then it is fair that a tax on fossil fuels should pay for massively increased national fire-fighting resources. While we may not be able to see the light at the end of this tunnel yet, we do know it will come. The same cannot be said of the real and present danger of a catastrophic war, started by our psychopathic allies in Iraq - the assassination of one of Iran's most admired and loved leaders, General Qassem Soleimani.
Whether Australians were collaborators in this provocative act of war is unknown, but our close allegiance to the parties responsible - Israel, the US and UK - makes us complicit. But it also makes it our duty, if international law means anything, to immediately condemn the incendiary US action, as well as ceasing any further cooperation in the occupation of Syria and Iraq, now ruled illegal by the Iraqi parliament - and in the Persian Gulf blockade against Iran. It is not too late to "bring the boys - and girls - home" from the Middle East, and would help to put out the fires in both places.