Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Victoria is Ablaze as Fires Spread

Footage taken from an aerial view shows fires encroaching on a properties in Bundoora, a Melbourne suburb, Australia

Bushires in East Gippsland in Victoria, Australia on December 30, 2019

Scores of fires are burning out of control across Australia amid a heatwave which has seen temperatures exceed 40C (104F) in every state. 

On Monday, the fiercest fires were in the state of Victoria. 

Fire had threatened three Melbourne suburbs, i.e. Bundoora, Greensborough and Mill Park – with residents being warned it was too late to flee and they must “act immediately to survive”. 

Authorities had already declared a bushfire emergency as an out-of-control blaze bore down on homes in Australia's second-biggest city. 

In Bundoora – just 16 kilometres north of the city centre and home to two major Australian university campuses, i.e. La Trobe and RMIT — fire was “threatening homes and lives”, Victoria Emergency said. 

“You are in danger and need to act immediately to survive”, the agency said in a message to residents. "The safest option is to take shelter indoors immediately. It is too late to leave". 

And about 30,000 residents and tourists who had initially been urged to flee East Gippsland – a popular holiday region – could not do so because evacuations were deemed too risky as fires encroached on major roads. 

That’s how volatile and dangerous the situation is! 

Across Australia, the fires have already destroyed four million hectares (9.9m acres) in five states since September. 

On Monday, I attended the KL Advanced Toastmasters meeting – my last meeting of 2019 – and there, I was both the Toastmaster and a speaker. 

I presented an Advanced speech from the Special Occasion Speeches manual, project #3 The Roast. 

Titled "El Presidente", it was a 3-5-minute speech where I poked fun at a particular individual in a good-natured way. 

That person was of course, Rohijas Md Sharif, the current president of two Toastmasters clubs, i.e. KL Advanced and KPP. I am serving with him in the latter as Vice President Public Relations as well as Vice President Membership. 

That meant I had completed my 850th project speech todate!

I have been a Toastmaster for exactly 4,200 days – and the total number of speeches I’ve done thus far is no mean feat. If you care to do your sums, I will have delivered, on average, one speech every 5 days. Since July 01, 2008. 

A pat on the back for yourself, Victor Ong! 

Photos of the said meeting:

No comments: