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Death toll in Australian wildfires rises to over 180; highlights urgent need for extreme events adaptation planning

The deadly wildfires currently ravaging Victoria, Australia as a result of record high temperatures are a chilling example of the extremes scientists project will occur at an increasing rate as climate change accelerates.

In a testament to the need for adaptation planning worldwide, survivors of the bushfires are demanding fundamental changes to the country’s emergency response system.

With little to no warning of the wall of flames surging toward them, many residents from affected areas escaped with no more than the clothing on their backs. Some were not so lucky. At least 180 residents of the southeastern state of Victoria are confirmed dead, with emergency crews and volunteers still sifting through ruined homes, charred cars, and other commercial property.

Considered to be one of the most demoralizing episodes in modern Australian history, citizens are now considering how such scenarios will be dealt with in the future.

“I think we really do need to look at our early warning systems,” said Attorney-General Robert McClelland.

ACT’s second set of policy recommendations – on Climate Change Adaptation and Extreme Weather Events, by IPCC author Dr. Gordon McBean – is scheduled for release in April.

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