Bushfires continued to ravage Australia’s island state of Tasmania, with more hot weather expected for the week.
Police feared that there might be lost lives as nearly 100 people have been feared missing. Latest news from the police showed that most of the reported missing people have been accounted for and no deaths have been recorded so far.
Tasmania Police Inspector John Arnold told ABC Radio that most of the names on the list have been cross-checked and located.
However, he could not rule out the possibility of fatal casualties.
Tasmanian police continued their property-to-property searches in the worst-hit towns of Dunalley, Boomer Bay and Marion Bay as they feared lives may have been lost.
More than 100 buildings have been destroyed by the fires, which continue to burn. Phil Douglas from the Tasmanian Fire Service said there had been no substantial change overnight, with the Repulse and Forcett fires still fairly active.
Weather forecast warned that more hot weather in Tasmania could rekindle the danger level of bushfires that have ravaged the southeast of the state. Although the state won’t see a repeat of the record temperature of January 4 when capital city of Hobart registered 41.8 C, its highest since temperature record started in 1883, above average temperatures are expected with many cities in the state.
“While we hopefully will not experience those once-in-a- generation, horrific, catastrophic weather conditions that we faced on Friday (January 4), there isn’t a decent rain ahead of us, “ emergency services minister David O’Byrne was quoted by the Australian Associated Press as saying.
Fire chiefs say they can’t predict when the massive blazes in the state will be brought under control.
Australian government announces that Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments (AGDRP) are now available to residents in the southeast and east of Tasmania. Eligible people affected by the recent bushfires will be able to claim payments of 1,000 Australian dollars (1,047 U.S. dollars) for each adult and 400 dollars (418.8 U.S. dollars) for each child.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard visits the state.