Related News

Home » World

Australia braces for major heatwave, bushfires

SOUTHEAST Australia is bracing for a major heatwave which could cause the worst bushfires for decades, and nursing homes have been warned to prepare for the searing heat after several deaths during a heatwave last week.

The temperature in the outback town of Ivanhoe in New South Wales state is forecast to reach 47 degrees Celsius (116.6 Fahrenheit) tomorrow and the coastal cities of Sydney and Melbourne will bake under 40-plus Celsius.

Tens of thousands of firefighters are on standby to cope with bushfire outbreaks, with authorities in Victoria state warning Saturday's conditions could be worse than those that led to the deadly "Ash Wednesday" fires of 1983, which killed 75.

"It's just going to be probably ... the worst day ever in the history of the state in terms of temperatures and winds," Victoria state premier John Brumby told reporters today.

"The state is just tinder dry, so people need to exercise real commonsense tomorrow, if you don't need to go out don't go out, it's a seriously bad day," he said.

The heatwave will not affect commodity crops such as wheat and sugar, which are grown predominately in western and northern Australia.

Authorities fear the heatwave, which last week caused major blackouts and left thousands of residents without air conditioning, could again be fatal to the elderly.

There were 22 "sudden deaths" in Adelaide last Friday at the height of the last heatwave and several in Melbourne.

"This is about protecting our nation's frail and aged," said Minister for Ageing Justine Elliot, in warning nursing homes to prepare for the heatwave. Nursing homes in southeast Australia care for some 170,000 residents.

"Aged care providers have a legal obligation to ensure that they are providing proper care for residents. It is important in heatwave conditions that they recognise residents may not be able to communicate their discomfort," Elliot said in a statement.

South Australia's main morgue was now almost full with 71 bodies, a temporary morgue has been hired, and elective surgery delayed as hospitals try to cope with more than 600 heat-related cases, said local media.

Rail authorities in Sydney have ordered a slowdown of the network to try and avoid accidents if rail lines buckle, as they did in last week's heatwave in Melbourne and Adelaide. Three train lines in Adelaide will be closed on Saturday.

Emergency officials have imposed fire bans in three states, warning that arsonists would be severely dealt with.

"The government obviously has absolutely no tolerance for arsonists," New South Wales state Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan told reporters.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend