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Australia: Mass evacuation as catastrophic bushfires worsen

Bushfires burned dangerously out of control around country’s east coast. Strong winds that have changed direction has hampered efforts by firefighters to contain bushfires in Australia’s south-east.

In Victoria, over 1,100 people and 115 pets were evacuated by two Australian Navy ships from the Gippsland town of Mallacoota after a 20-hour journey. Nearly 150 fires are still burning in New South Wales and dozens more were burning in Victoria.  

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the focus would be on recovery and helping those who were displaced and had lost their homes, as well as containing fires still burning. She said these were “unprecedented” circumstances. 

Over 17 fires have been rated at emergency or evacuate warning levels in Victoria and 12 in New South Wales.

Meanwhile Army helicopters have been deployed to evacuate people trapped by the flames in the state of Victoria.

Extensive bushfires have killed 21 people so far since September and destroyed more than 5 million hectares of land.

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