As of Tuesday, the death toll in Australia has claimed 25 lives. And hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes across the country.
The ecological devastation is hard to fathom. An estimate by a University of Sydney ecologist puts the number of mammals killed since the wildfires started in September 2019 at around 480 million. The number includes about 8,000 koalas.
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pledged $2 billion (C$1.8 billion) for recovery efforts, in addition to the tens of millions already designated for disaster relief. “If more is needed and the cost is higher, then more will be provided,” Morrison said. Meanwhile, Australia’s Insurance Council so far has received more than 5,000 insurance claims totalling $375 million (C$337 million).