- Australia: Voracious fires corner thousands of people on beaches
The Australian authorities confirmed on Thursday the death of another person because of the fires burning in the southeast of the country, which brings to seventeen the balance of fatalities of recent months, while thousands of people prepare to evacuate the areas affected by fire.
"It saddens me to have to inform them that there are at least seventeen people that we do not know where they are, " Victoria State Chief Daniel Andrews told reporters after confirming the first death registered in that jurisdiction.
To these is added another missing person in the neighboring state of New South Wales, the most affected by the wave of fires, where fifteen people have died, seven of them since Monday, and the evacuation of various areas of the coast has been ordered before that conditions are aggravated next Saturday.
"The priority today is to fight the fire and evacuate, put people safe. What is absolutely important is that we continue to focus on these important tasks," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a news conference.
Firefighters asked tourists to leave before it is too late on the south coast of New South Wales, in anticipation of "dangerous conditions" for Saturday with temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius and high winds.
Images on social networks showed long lines of cars on the roads in this area, taking advantage of the fact that several sections have been reopened and despite the poor visibility in some parts due to smoke.
The authorities of this state, where 3.6 million hectares have been burned, 70% of the calcined area throughout the country, have also ordered the evacuation of the Kosciuszko national park due to the proximity of another focus that has razed 130,000 hectares .
In Victoria, the armed forces deployed to evacuate by air and sea some 4,000 people surrounded by a beach in Mallacoota, a popular tourist area in the southeast of the country.
Australia's Minister of Defense, Linda Reynolds, said that navy personnel help out isolated communities near Mallacoota and transport already injured firefighters, in a Twitter message accompanied by an image of medical personnel next to a helicopter in the Deck of the ship "Choules".
The Victoria authorities indicated that this afternoon they plan to carry out evacuations by air, hindered so far because of smoke, and tomorrow by sea.
Mallacoota, a coastal town of about one thousand inhabitants of the East Gippsland municipality, is the area most affected by the fires in Victoria, with about a hundred burned houses.
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