Open letter to South Africa’s students‚ universities and government‚ represented by Minister in the .
WHITTLESEA, Australia - Weary firefighters and rescuers pulled the charred remains of people from homes as the toll from Australia's deadliest bushfires rose to 135.
"Everybody's gone. Everybody's gone. Everybody. Their houses are gone. They're all dead in the houses. Everybody's dead," cried survivor Christopher Harvey yesterday as he walked through Kinglake, where most people were killed.
Police believe some of the fires, which razed rural towns near Australia's second biggest city, Melbourne, were deliberately lit. They declared one devastated town a crime scene.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said: "There are no words to describe it other than mass murder. The numbers are numbing ... I fear they will rise further."
The bushfires are Australia's worst natural disaster in more than a century. One massive fire tore through several towns in the southern state of Victoria on Saturday night, destroying everything in its path. People died in cars trying to flee and others were killed huddled in their homes. But some escaped by jumping into swimming pools or farm reservoirs.
The inferno was as tall as a four-storey building at one stage and was sparking spot fires 40km ahead of itself as strong winds blew embers in its path. More than 750 houses were destroyed and about 78 people, with serious burns and injuries, are in hospital. - Reuters