Messages of support

The Queen, Prince Charles and Tasmanian governor Peter Underwood have released these messages to those affected by the Tasmanian bushfires.

THE QUEEN:  I would like to convey my deep concern for all those who have been affected by the devastating bushfires that have caused widespread destruction across Tasmania.

I send my sympathy to those people who have lost their homes or livelihoods in the fires, and offer my support and admiration for the fire fighters, volunteers and emergency services officers who have been working tirelessly to contain the situation.

PRINCE CHARLES:  Having visited Tasmania so recently, and retaining countless fond and happy memories of all those we met, my wife and I were profoundly saddened to hear of the appalling bushfires which have caused such dreadful damage and despair across the island.

 However inadequate these sentiments may be under such awful circumstances, we wanted you to know that our hearts go out to all those whose lives, properties and businesses have been affected by those terrible fires.  Our special thoughts and prayers are with them at such a desperate time.

MR UNDERWOOD: In common with all Tasmanians my wife and I are thinking of the hundreds of people who have suffered disastrous losses in the Tasmanian bushfires.

 Many of you are no doubt still in a state of shock, trying to come to terms with the loss, in a single stroke, of your home, your possessions and, in some cases, your livelihood.

 To stand in the face of a bushfire is terrifying.  To have to flee, leaving the fire to consume the house that has been your home for many years, wiping out the personal possessions, photos, books, gifts and mementos that have marked the years of your life, can only be described as utterly devastating.

 Tasmania is a small, close-knit community and I am confident that all Tasmanians will rally around those stricken and displaced and willingly give them support and encouragement, both spiritual and material, to help rebuild strength and provide courage to face the future.

 We already have seen evidence of this spirit in the tireless work of the firefighters, many of whom are volunteers; the strength and efforts of the members of the SES, nearly all of whom are volunteers; the police and other emergency workers; and those who, without hesitation, took to their boats and lifted people off the Tasman Peninsula and carried them to safety - a rescue that immediately provokes a recall of the famous evacuation off the beaches at Dunkirk.

 In addition there are the many people who have selflessly volunteered to help at Emergency Centres or who have given clothes, blankets and food to help the homeless, and who have offered help in many other ways. 

To those who have suffered so badly in these fires I say, we Tasmanians will rally to your aid; have courage.

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