I am stricken by the number of dead in the Victorian bushfires.
Early yesterday afternoon, it was 16. Then it jumped to 47. Less than two hours later, it was at 66, and by evening, it was in the high seventies.
This morning, it reached 108. Then 116.
31 fires are still burning. More than 5,000 people are homeless, with more than 750 homes destroyed.
I’ve never been strong with numbers. But these overwhelm me.
Update, 10/02/2009: 173 are confirmed dead, but police think the toll could rise as high as 300. Nearly 1,000 homes have been destroyed. What can anyone say to that?
Update, 12/02/2009: The toll stands at 181, but police have stopped updating it. I don’t blame them.
Update, 05/03/2009: Not all the fires are out, but according to today’s Age, the worst of the season is over. Black Saturday has killed 210 people, but some remains are still being identified. Still: the rain has come.