In the middle of the devastation of the Victoria bush-fires we have heard from various family members through the state. The farming cousin lives in Taggerty, not one of the worst hit areas but still suffering from loss of houses, property and lives. The fire burnt right up to his fenceline but his farm and house were saved and all of his family are safe. The girlfriend of a cousin on the other side of the family, though now living in the city, is also from Taggerty and her family's farm has been destroyed. The land is burnt and the house is gone but the family are safe.
We have been watching it all on the news and I keep crying as I see the destruction and loss and hear the stories of those who have survived. It is being reported that 5000 people are homeless and 181 people have died so far. If you're in Australia you'll already know that there are lots of different appeals for people affected. Most of the banks are taking donations, the Red Cross has set up a hotline for donations, there's to be a celebrity-type appealathon later in the week, churches are taking donations of goods and Coles has announced that all profits from this Friday's trading will be donated. If you're in a position to help, no matter how small you think the assistance is, please do. Hubby and I decided that we'd donate the amount that we would have spent on flowers, presents, a nice meal, etc for Valentine's Day. I figure we'll be together in our own house, safe and sound this Valentine's Day and it seems the least we can do.