Fire-ravaged Australia has launched a major operation to reach thousands of people stranded in seaside towns.
Three people lost their lives and five others were missing while at least two schools and dozens of homes were feared destroyed after the country’s southeast was devastated by deadly bushfires.
Navy ships and military aircraft were deployed alongside emergency crews to provide humanitarian relief and assess the damage.
The unprecedented crisis has sparked street protests calling on the government to immediately act on climate change, which scientists say is creating a longer and more intense bushfire season.
Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has come under increasing pressure for his response, which has included holidaying in Hawaii as the disaster unfolded and reiterating his steadfast support for Australia’s lucrative coal mining industry.