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Australian fires: “Roads are closed. It’s hard to get out” say Flemings

Sylvie Wante, a Flemish woman who has been staying with an Australian family who live north of Sydney, is one of the many people who has had to leave her home due to the bush fires.

Sylvie is staying with folks in a village near Port Macquarie, a town between Brisbane and Sydney.

“At the minute the fires are making their way from the outback to the coast.  When we got up at 7AM there was smoke everywhere.  It was hard to breathe.  We had dry eyes and dry throats.”

When Sylvie heard that one of the two roads out of her village was blocked she decided to make for Port Macquarie, where it is safer.  “You see a lot of smoke on the motorway too.  You see smoke rising from the ground and coming from the bush.”

Schools stay closed, streets are empty and the supermarkets that are still open have little fresh food left.

“Lorries are not getting through the road blocks.  Roads from the interior to the coast are closed and it’s dangerous for people who still want to flee.”

Fire-fighters face a challenge.  Temperatures are rising above 30°C and it’s very windy.

“The wind is carrying the flames” says Sylvie.

Sylvie is not the only Fleming who has witnessed the bush fires.  Daan Vekemans is on a road trip along the east coast: “We passed the worst hit areas in recent days.  Now we are south of the epicentre of the fires.  The biggest problem we face is that roads are closed. On the motorways you see large numbers of fire engines driving to and from the fires.”

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