Australian PM Scott Morrison issued a public apology later on Sunday for holidaying while his country was battling bushfires. He also cut down his Hawaiian vacation in response to mounting public anger after two volunteer firefighters were killed earlier on Thursday.
While speaking after a briefing with fire officials on Sunday, he said that he understands that people are upset to know that he is holidaying with his family while their families are under great stress. He further said that he knew that Australians were anxious about the fires. He insisted that the nation’s emergency response was the best in the world. Though he admitted that climate change was contributing to changing weather patterns, he still denied that it had directly caused the wildfires.
Two firefighters were killed on Thursday after a falling tree struck their fire truck as it travelled through the front line of fire. Firefighters’ union leaders Leighton Drury previously said that Australia was seeing an absolute lack of leadership from the current government calling it a disgrace.
Previously, many Australians have accused Morrison’s government of inaction on global warming. The criticisms grew when a heatwave broke records across the country worsened the fires. Although climate change did not directly cause bushfires, scientists have long warned that a hotter, drier climate would contribute to Australia’s fire becoming more frequent and intense. The country witnessed its hottest day on December 18 this year due to the bushfires. The bushfires have killed at least nine people, destroyed more than 700 homes and charred millions of hectares of land since its start in September this year.
In an ironic turn of events, old footage of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has emerged in which he criticises ex-Police Chief Christine Nixon for dining out while the country was ravaged by bushfires on Black Saturday. On the other hand, Scott Morrison himself is currently holidaying in Hawaii with his family. The Black Saturday bushfires happened in Victoria 10 years ago claiming the lives of 173 people and is still one of the darkest days for Australia. Currently, Australia is once again being engulfed by more than 100 bushfires across the country fuelled by climate change and dry and hot weather.
(With inputs from agencies)