As I write the death toll for the Victorian Bushfires stands at 181. It seems that it's still expected to rise significantly, even up to another 100. Unthinkable.
And although I think it right that the damage and destruction be measured in precious lives lost, rather than how many dollars of damage are caused it is a horrendously large number. Even though people have lost homes, livelihoods and items of sentimental meaning for them it's not the 'face value' of them that matters so much, it's the meaning beyond the dollars.
I'm certain that for most of us death in a fire must come close to the top of the list of worst possible way to go. And the number of deaths is staggering.
The tales of personal loss are staggering.
And that's where it sticks for me. Every one of those lives had meaning. Every one leaves behind family or friends who mourn their loss. I would hate for those individuals to get lost behind the statistics.
There is a community of suffering down in Victoria at the moment. It seems that the survivors are looking out for each other and others have come to help look after them, but I'm not certain that the individual loss is lessened by the fact that so many others have also lost loved ones.
I also feel for all those who have lost loved ones in the last few days across the rest of Australia. There are people missing in the floods up north. I'm certain that there would have been people who have died with cancer... heart attacks... stroke. People who have had car accidents. Every one is important. The loss that their loved ones are experiencing is just as real as those from down south - just not as widely publicised.
How many lives lost over the last week count for something?
... Every. One.
It was a big weekend
15 hours ago