Death Toll in Australian Bushfires Reaches 130
Update: The death toll has passed 130, in what Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard described as the worst event in Australia's peacetime history.
"A tragedy beyond belief, beyond precedent and really beyond words.
She warned the country to prepare for more tragedy.
"It will get worse and Australians need to prepare themselves," Ms Gillard told the nation's parliament.
The wildfires in Victoria are still not under control- 25 fires still burn as firefighters continue the battle. Some friends of mine live about 30 miles from one of the fires; one of them texted me with:
"Yeah we are good but the main front is only 30 miles from us. Saturday had the potential to be nasty. 120ft high wall of flames"
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the numbers were "numbing" and warned the nation to prepare for more bad news.
Troops and emergency crews are still battling about 25 fires - two of which are threatening urban areas.
On Monday, forensic crews began the grim task of searching for more bodies amid the tangled wreckage while roughly 3,000 firefighters, aided by cooler temperatures, continued to battle three main wildfires and dozens of smaller ones.
More bodies will be found and identified by our emergency services, Ms Gillard warned.
"Burns victims will sadly succumb to their severe injuries despite the intensive efforts of our health professionals.''
Australians needed to brace themselves for the increase in fatalities and be mindful of the grief and circumstances of those affected.