‘As recovery efforts get underway in the areas hardest hit by the bushfires, there is a strong need to be aware of the longer-term psychological and social impacts,’ says Dr Rob Gordon, consultant psychologist to Red Cross. ‘‘Emergencies by their very nature disruptive and can be extremely stressful. And situations like the Victorian bushfires, which have had such an enormous impact, will certainly have an effect on a large portion of the population,’ he says. There are a range of emotions that people may be feeling after a major crisis, including shock and disbelief, numbness, fear, helplessness and anger or frustration. any of these feelings will not be present immediately, and indeed some may take months or even ears to be fully experienced. ‘People should also remember to look after their physical state,’ says Dr Gordon. ‘The health of the body as well as the mind can be directly affected by the event, with difficulty sleeping, muscular tension, weight gain or loss and inability to concentrate are all common physical reactions.’ Red Cross has a number of resources to assist people affected by emergencies, including a booklet on how to cope with a major personal crisis, and podcasts discussing how to deal with the stress of an emergency and how to help out after one has occurred.’- redcross.org.au

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‘As recovery ef…

About 401073 acres were burnt in the Victoria fires. 173 people were killed and around 78 communities were directly impacted. More than 2000 properties were burnt as well as 61 businesses, 70 national parks and 3550 agricultural facilities. The cost of damage reached 4.4 billion Australian dollars. Environmental impact has killed more than 1 million Australian animals and has left the Leadbeater’s possum under threat of extinction.

Causes:

The Black Saturday fires were allegedly caused by broken power lines that lit the close vegetation on fire, cigarette butts, lightning and even power tool sparks. After a hot dry summer most of the vegetation was dead/dry and the whole suburb was lit like a match. On the 7th of February background temperatures of 46 degrees Celsius and north-westerly winds at 62mph made perfect conditions for bushfires. Bits of blown debris that were blown ahead started small spot fires.