Death toll in Australian Bushfires believed to be over 100, fires still threating homes

The latest reports from bushfire ravaged Victoria indicate the death toll may be over 100.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned the nation to “prepare itself for even worse news” as authorities are still unable to account for dozens, possibly hundreds of people in the chaos left by the fires that have ravaged some 400,000 hectares (988,000 acres) of the State.

Among the missing dead this evening is former popular Channel 9 newsreader Brian Naylor.

The Country Fire Authority continues to fight fires on several fronts, including a fire threatening the Loy Yang power station which provides power to Melbourne (I’m still typing this, so the lights are still on in Melbourne at 9:30pm AEDT). The Kinglake fire is currently threatening Taggerty and Yea. A fire that was earlier threatening Beechworth is still of concern.

Disgustingly, arsonists are being blamed for at least some of the fires, with reports that fires that had been successfully put out had later been re-lit.

Over 3,700 evacuated residents have registered with the Red Cross, with many more expected, and hospitals in Melbourne have been inundated with burns cases, many of them severe.

If you’re concerned about loved ones, with Australian the line for information is 1800 727 077.

Donations to the Victorian Bushfire Relief Fund can be made at any National Australia Bank. BSB: 082 001 – Account: 860 046 797

The Salvation Army Bush Fire Appeal: follow the links here.

The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is desperately appealing for blood donations – 131 495

Here’s a map of the latest fire fronts, and recorded deaths:

View Larger Map

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