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Australia, a season in hell (Fires in Australia)

Since September 2019, Australia continues to burn under a series of particularly destructive and deadly fires. For Australian writer Richard Flanagan, "these fires will be our climatic Chernobyl".

Photographer Andrew Quilty travelled between December 2019 and January 2020 to the places most ravaged by the flames, from New South Wales to Victoria.

Australia has always been prone to fires caused by drought and high temperatures, almost as if by fate. But the damage caused by the current situation is exceptional and triggers an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity. Donations are arriving from all over the world and several actions are being put in place to help the Australians.

Overwhelmed by flames and trapped under grey smoke, thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes, located in the path of the fires. Faced with a situation that continues to worsen, the population still feels threatened by the fires and awaits further political action, in order to believe in a future that for the moment remains compromised. Although the government has announced an emergency plan amounting to 2 billion Australian dollars (1.2 billion euros), some people still feel that they are left to their own devices.

The human and material toll has continued to rise since September, with 28 people having lost their lives and 2,000 homes destroyed. But the loss of biodiversity remains immeasurable: 80,000 km of forests have been devastated (an area the size of Ireland) and a billion animals are thought to have died in the fires. Aid of 50 million Australian dollars has been put in place to save the fauna and flora, but more is likely to be needed to save them.

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