Sunday, 17 November, 2019

Australian bushfires wipe out half of koala colony, threaten more

A large bushfire in the Wollemi National Park near Lithgow west of Sydney A large bushfire in the Wollemi National Park near Lithgow west of Sydney
Patty Aguilar | 08 November, 2019, 17:20

An unprecedented number of out of control bushfires have threatened vast areas in the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, authorities have said. "We have never seen this many fires concurrently at emergency warning level". Some residents in Jacobs Spur near the town of Kempsey have been told it is too late to evacuate so they should take shelter immediately.

New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told local media that nearly 1,200 firefighters and 70 aircraft had been deployed "to save as many people as possible", with around 92,000 people affected by the fires.

The fact that the flames spread along a stretch of the coastline of approximately 1,000 km (620 miles) left emergency services struggling to cope, even with the help of about 70 aircraft.

Around a hundred fires marked the camp of New South Wales and Queensland, approximately 17 of them remained unsafe and unstoppable on Friday night.

So far there have been no reports of fatalities, although there were reports of buildings set alight and people trapped in their homes.

The map issued by the fire service shows the locations of the devastating blazes.

AIA "deplores the administration's shortsighted decision" on Paris Climate Agreement exit
Many local governments and institutions in the United States made emissions commitments under a movement called We Are Still In . Israel remains committed to the Paris climate pact after the United States chose to officially abandon it this week.

Moody’s lowers India outlook to ‘negative’, but government says fundamentals remain robust
In an official statement, the finance ministry said India continues to offer strong prospects of growth in near and medium term. The country's foreign issuer rating was affirmed at Baa2, which is the second-lowest investment grade score.

Iran 5.9 magnitude natural disaster kills at least 5, injures 300
There are initial reports that three small villages in the area were destroyed in the quake, semi-official FARS news reported . According to early reports, at least 120 other people have been injured in the quake, which hit at 2:17 a.m. on November 8.

The fires occurred mostly in drought-affected areas, and were worsened by gusty winds and up to 35 Celcius heat.

"The "high concentration of fire and extreme volatility and extraordinary fire behavior" was being driven by a "drought stricken landscape" and hot, dry, windy conditions", he said.

Queensland and New South Wales are prone to wildfires in spring and early summer.

There are now 50 bushfires raging in neighbouring Queensland, with residents across several areas told to evacuate as properties are under threat.

Experts estimated the bushfires have wiped out about half the koalas living on a coastal reserve in New South Wales.

Australia's east is being ravaged by a record number of intense bushfires in a dramatic start to the country's fire season, with scientists warning of worse to come.

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