9 January 2020, Canberra
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed that the death toll from the nation’s bushfire crisis has risen to 27. Morrison provided an update on the bushfires at a press conference at Parliament House on Thursday, announcing that 2,131 homes have been destroyed and the death toll is expected to rise.
Fires burning across Australia’s southeast were expected to be exacerbated by high temperatures and strong winds on Thursday and Friday. “I am sure over the course of the day, as further damage assessments have been undertaken, particularly in victims the numbers will continue to sadly change and they will continue to escalate,” he said.
“I would encourage all Australians to continue to follow the advice of authorities, to keep being kind to each other as the way you are.” Morrison also thanked international partners who have sent aid to Australia.
He was joined by former Australian Federal Police (AFP) Commissioner Andrew Colvin, who on Monday was announced as the inaugural head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency. “The message we have is let’s make sure what we give is tailored to the community who needs it,” Colvin said.
On Thursday, mining magnate Andrew Forrest announced a 70-million-Australian-dollar (48.1 million U.S. dollars) donation to bushfire relief efforts Enditem.