SAF working with Australia to tackle 6 million hectare bushfires

The fires have led to the deaths of about 500 million animals.

Ashley Tan | January 06, 2020, 03:35 PM

Australia has been plagued by raging bushfires since the start of August 2019.

The fires, which have engulfed nearly six million hectares of land, have claimed the lives of more than 20 people and about 500 million animals so far.

Offers of assistance from Singapore and more

In a press conference on Jan. 5, 2020, Australian prime minister Scott Morrison announced the collaboration of the Australia Defence Force (ADF) with Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the New Zealand Defence Force.

This was after both countries offered their support, CNA reports.

Morrison stated that the ADF was currently "engaging" with the two forces to "identify options for the kind offers of military support [...] they have generously put forward".

He added that the prime minister of Papua New Guinea, James Marape, had also made "similar offers", which Morrison said had been passed on to the ADF.

Marape had also offered to send a total of 1,000 soldiers and firefighters to Australia.

France's president Emmanuel Macron expressed solidarity with Australians in a recent tweet, saying he had called Morrison to offer "operational assistance" as well.

Aussie prime minister criticised for poor decisions

Morrison has come under fire recently for his poor climate change policies in light of the bushfires, as well as taking a vacation to Hawaii with his family while residents and firefighters are battling the blazes back home.

Additionally, the NSW rural fire chief stated he was not consulted about Morrison's decision to deploy 3,000 reservists to fight the fires, and only learnt about the news from media reports, reported The Straits Times.

Morrison claimed that this was due to a "breakdown in communications".

On Jan. 5, rain fell in some parts of Australia such as the east coast and New South Wales, perhaps bringing some respite from the blazing temperatures and smoke.

However, officials warned that temperatures would rise again by Jan. 9, and predicted that huge fires in NSW and Victoria could combine to create a "mega-blaze", BBC reported.

Related stories

Top photo from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services / FB and Wildlife Rescue Sunshine Coast