Australia — Police say the death toll from Victoria’s bushfires has reached 189. Monday’s figure is the first update given by police since the figure reached 181 last Thursday.
It included 43 from the town of Marysville, which is expected to have lost 100 of its 500 residents. Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said the toll would rise further. Police had said uncertainty over the identity of remains found among the ash and rubble in devastated towns prevented them updating the toll earlier.
Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said earlier on Monday, police did not want to issue an update until they were sure everything was “spot on”. Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin said recovering and identifying remains was complex and difficult.
The most important thing was that families of missing bushfire victims were given correct information, he said. “The sensitivity is to get it right,” Mr Esplin said.
“It’s a huge task and it’s a hugely sensitive task for the police, fire services and the defence force that are supporting them in recovering remains and appropriately identifying remains. “And it’s most important that the families get the right information and they get that information correctly, that there are no mistakes made.”
KINGLAKE COMPLEX 128 Flowerdale 7 Heathcote Junction 1 Humevale 5 Kinglake 33 Kinglake West 7 Mittons Bridge 1 Reedy Creek 1 St Andrews 20 Steels Creek 7 Strathewen 40 Strath Creek 1 Toolangi 2 Upper Plenty 1 Whittlesea 2