President Donald Trump on Monday, Jan. 6, called Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to offer support as Australia is struggling with a bushfire crisis that engulf parts of the country.
President Trump “expressed deep concern for those affected and condolences for the firefighters and others who lost their lives,” said a White House spokesman, reported the Hill.
“President Trump offered United States support to assist the Australian government as it battles these terrible fires,” the spokesman added.
Morrison thanked the President Trump for the support already provided by the United States, especially the firefighting assistance that has helped to tame the fires.
“Thanks for the call @realDonaldTrump and for your strong messages of sympathy, support, and friendship for Australia during our terrible bushfire season. Thanks also to the American people for their many messages of support,” Morrison wrote in a tweet. “Australia and the US are great mates.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 7, 2020
Australia’s wildfires, unprecedented in their size and severity, have ravaged millions of acres across the country in recent months, killing millions of animals and at least 24 people nationwide. In the state of New South Wales alone, which has been hardest hit, more than 2,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged, according to CNN.
Australia’s devastating wildfires as seen from space.
— Hananya Naftali (@HananyaNaftali) January 7, 2020
The sad news!!!
Nearly 500,000,000 animals have been killed in Australia’s wildfires.
Almost half a billion animals have been killed in Australia’s raging wildfires with fears entire species may have been wiped out. pic.twitter.com/sr2RysUdY3
— ASDEPO (@mihreteabbelay) January 5, 2020
The intensifying bushfires have set off a series of bizarre phenomena, including fire-driven thunderstorms, fire clouds, and ember attacks.
Apocalyptic-looking thunderstorms generated by Australia’s wildfires can produce lightning and winds that carry embers for miles https://t.co/giohkQLURT
— National Geographic (@NatGeo) January 6, 2020
State and federal authorities have been working to combat the fire crisis for months, sending in military assistance like army personnel, air force aircraft, and navy cruisers to firefight, evacuate, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts.
The Australian government launched a recovery fund worth AU$2 billion ($1.39 billion,) to help rebuild communities damaged by the fires, reported CNN.
The bushfires have had residual affects across the continent, with millions of people having been blanketed by smoke and air quality in some of the largest cities exceeding “hazardous” levels on several occasions.