Thousands swarmed to beaches on Australia’s east coast on Tuesday to escape fierce wildfires bearing down on several seaside towns, as the government readied naval vessels and military helicopters to aid firefighting and evacuations.
Government officials called for Australian military support and assistance from U.S. and Canadian fire crews as authorities confirmed two people had died overnight, taking to 11 the total deaths in wildfires since the beginning of October.
The huge bushfires have destroyed more than 4 million hectares (10 million acres), with new blazes sparked into life almost daily by extremely hot and windy conditions in bushland left tinder dry after a three-year drought.
Fueled by searing temperatures and high winds, more than 200 fires are now burning across the southeastern states of New South Wales and Victoria, threatening several towns and snapping their power, mobile and internet links.
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“This is absolutely one of the worst fire seasons we’ve seen,” Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, told a briefing in Sydney.
“It’s going to be a very long, difficult dangerous night still ahead. It’s going to be another difficult day again tomorrow.”
Authorities said the main firefront was moving up the coast and warned those in its path to seek shelter close to the beach.
About 4,000 people in the town of Mallacoota in Victoria headed to the waterfront after the main road was cut off. Those who could not make it there scrambled for shelter in a gymnasium and other public buildings, as emergency sirens wailed.
Some of those trapped in the town posted images of blood-red, smoke-filled skies on social media. One beachfront photograph showed people lying shoulder-to-shoulder on the sand, some wearing gas masks.
It looked “a lot like Armageddon,” said David Jeffrey, the owner of the Wave Oasis guesthouse, adding, “It’s terrifying.”
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Fisherman Steve Casement said he had lost his house in Mallacoota to the fires. “We are stuck here now,” he told Reuters by telephone. “Everyone is pretty shocked at the moment, most of my mates are in the same position.
“Right now, I am on a trailer watching the town burn down, listening to gas bottles explode at some poor bugger’s home and seeing smoke all around me.”
Authorities said that by late afternoon the worst danger had passed.
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100 Civil Servants Die In Jigawa Within One Month
The Jigawa State and Local Governments Contributory Pension Scheme said 100 civil servants died within one month.
Executive Secretary of the Board scheme, Alhaji Kamilu Aliyu Musa, disclosed this while briefing newsmen on the payment of the retirement and death benefits in his office.
He said the Board has paid N1.215bn to 550 retirees for the month of July, 2022.
Kamilu explained that, the beneficiaries are categorized into four for the payment of their rights.
According to him “the first category include 411 beneficiaries who have retired from the service and were paid over N920,331 million.
“The second category of the beneficiaries are those 100 people that have died while in service and their families received the total amount of N267,329 million”
“The third category of 8 beneficiaries are under the death pension balance and will get N27, 952 million as their entitlement
“While the fourth category of beneficiaries are those who are not in service for up-to five years, the board will refund 8 percent to them amounting to N201,437 thousands as their entitlement.”
The Executive Secretary also reiterated the board’s commitments to pay each retired civil servant his entitlement within one month of his retirement.
He then commended Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubukar for his support to the Board and releasing the Pensioners entitlement in a right time.
INEC Reacts As Hoodlums Burn Razed Its Enugu Office
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has confirmed that hoodlums burnt down its office at Igboeze North Local Government Area of Enugu State.
The incident occurred on Sunday night when the arsonists stormed the office situated at the council’s headquarters in Ogurute.
Confirming the incident, the Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Mr. Emeka Ononamadu, in a statement on Monday, said the arsonists overpowered the security guards, forced their way into the premises, and set the building ablaze.
He said although no casualties were reported, 748 ballot boxes, 240 voting cubicles, office furniture, and equipment were destroyed in spite of the effort of the Enugu State Fire Service deployed from Nsukka.
Ononamadu added that the Commission is working to ascertain the status of voter registration machines for the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise as well as uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) locked up in the fireproof cabinet.
”The incident has been reported to the Nigeria Police for investigation and further action.
”The attack, coming in the middle of the voter registration exercise and other preparations for the 2023 General Election, is worrisome. It will be recalled that on 23rd May 2021, our office in the neighbouring Igboeze South Local Government Area was attacked in a similar manner by unknown gunmen.
”This followed earlier attacks on the Udenu Local Government Area office on 13th May 2021 and the State Headquarters in Enugu on 16th May 2021.
”The Commission has since substantially recovered from these attacks and resumed normal activities there, including the VR and collection of
”The Commission will continue to work with the security agencies and the emergency services to protect our facilities,” the statement added.
Niger Attack: Death Toll Of Security Operatives Rises To 48
The number of security personnel killed in Niger State by suspected bandits has increased following the discovery of more bodies in the bush.
Sani Kokki, the convener of Concerned Shiroro Youths of Niger State, explained that more bodies of the security operatives were discovered in the bush by the locals.
According to Sani Kokki, “On Saturday evening, the dead body of a mobile policeman was also discovered by a passerby.”
Recall that a number of soldiers, policemen and civilians were killed after bandits attacked a mining site on Wednesday in Niger State.
He explained that the death toll of the security personnel killed by the bandits had risen to 48.
He alleged that the bandits killed 34 soldiers, eight mobile policemen and six civilians.
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