Mon, February 16, 2009
World > Asia-Pacific > Deadly bushfire in Australia

Memorial services held to pay tribute to Australian bushfire victims

2009-02-15 10:32:40 GMT2009-02-15 18:32:40 (Beijing Time)  

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hugs an unidentified local at Wandong, north of Melbourne, February 15, 2009. (Agencies)

MELBOURNE, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- Memorial services have been held across the state of Victoria on Sunday to remember those killed in Australia's deadly bushfires.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Sunday has attended an outdoor church service in the small, fire-ravaged Victorian town of Wandong, north of Melbourne on Sunday to pay tribute to "courageous" bushfire victims,

Four people from Wandong were killed in the bushfires, and Ruddpaid his respects to those who died and applauded the survivors, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said on Sunday.

"You as this community, full of courage, reliance and compassion, I salute each and every one of you," the prime minister was quoted as saying..

"We intend to be with you every step of the way."

"This is an easy thing to say, and a much harder thing to do," the prime minister said.

He is also in Wandong to speak with emergency workers, relief volunteers and fire survivors.

Sunday morning he attended a briefing by local fire chiefs to get an update on a series of blazes still burning across Victoria.

He will travel to nearby Kinglake later Sunday, where more than40 people were killed in the blazes.

The devastating bushfires have killed at least 181 people and destroyed more than 1,800 homes and left 7,000 people homeless. The death toll is expected to rise further.

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