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Australian towns teeter on brink of a humanitarian crisis as food, fuel and water run low in bushfire-hit regions and the NAVY is called in 'to evacuate people by the 1,000' ahead of 46C Saturday

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 1/01/2020 Brittany Chain For Daily Mail Australia and Australian Associated Press
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Australia is teetering on the edge of a humanitarian crisis as remote communities remain cut off from medical help, water sources are compromised and food and fuel supplies run low.

A Navy ship that delivered emergency supplies to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake has left Sydney and is expected to reach the waters off the fire-stricken town of Mallacoota, Victoria, on Thursday.

HMAS Choules will provide relief to 4,000 people who remain stranded in the seaside town after it was devastated by bushfires.

On New Year's Eve residents and tourists fled to Mallacoota's beach, ready to throw themselves in the water to protect themselves from the flames while the sky turned an apocalyptic red.

a close up of a map: Hundreds of fires are still burning out of control across the country, destroying millions of hectares, killing 18 and leaving 1,200 homes destroyed, with catastrophic 46C weather forecast for Saturday © Provided by Daily Mail Hundreds of fires are still burning out of control across the country, destroying millions of hectares, killing 18 and leaving 1,200 homes destroyed, with catastrophic 46C weather forecast for Saturday There are concerns that the town's water supply has now become contaminated due to the fires, and residents have been told to boil water until it can be tested.

Water supplies in towns in both Victoria and New South Wales have been affected by the fires.

On Tuesday boil notices were issued for Quaama, Cobargo, Bermagui, Beauty Point, Fairhaven, Wallaga Lake, Wallaga Lake Heights, Wallaga Lake Koori Village and Akolele after disinfection infrastructure was lost.

Power was restored to 11,000 homes in New South Wales' South Coast on Wednesday but more than 30,000 people are still without electricity or internet.

People who had suffered horrific burns or were injured in the fires were forced to wait for more than 24 hours until they were rescued by the Navy as roads remain closed.

RELATED: Bushfires in Australia

A 42-year-old man was rescued by a Navy helicopter from Cadgee, south of Moruya, and a 49-year-old woman and 23-year-old woman were rescued from Nowra.

Although some roads reopened on Wednesday, including the Princes Highway, the main road running through the fire affected region, some will remain closed for weeks.

NSW Premier Glayds Berejiklian said that trees had fallen on roads and had become welded to the bitumen making the task of clearing highways even more difficult.

a large waterfall: Frightening satellite images from January 1 showed the horrifying extent of the bushfires on the NSW South Coast © Provided by Daily Mail Frightening satellite images from January 1 showed the horrifying extent of the bushfires on the NSW South Coast There are concerns that food supplies will deplete quickly with no way to deliver more food.

On Wednesday more than 300 residents were seen queuing outside a Woolworths in Ulladulla, which has experienced power outages.

In the town of Tura Beach there were long queues of people waiting to fill up on petrol and to get supplies at the supermarket.

One woman called Kerry told the ABC: 'A car queue of 50 waiting to get petrol and people in Woolworths clearing the shelves … apocalyptic.'

Local petrol stations have been forced to post signs letting residents know they've been run completely dry of petrol - while others simply don't have any power to operate.

a lot of smoke around it: Smoke and flames are seen rising from burning trees as bushfires hit the bushland surrounding the small town of Nowr © Provided by Daily Mail Smoke and flames are seen rising from burning trees as bushfires hit the bushland surrounding the small town of Nowr Conditions improved on Wednesday for firefighters but RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons warned of hellish weather this weekend.

'We are getting indications with the forecast for Saturday that it is going to present a broader geographic area worse than what we saw yesterday in terms of fire danger,' he said.

'We all need to prepare ourselves for more challenging conditions.'

He said the fires would dominate a vast area from the south eastern corner of NSW up to Illawara and Shoalhaven. Tourists were warned to get out while they still could.

Eight people have died in bushfires since Monday, seven in New South Wales and one in Victoria.

a group of people sitting in a room: Thousands of people are stranded in the seaside town of Mallacoota (pictured trapped on the beach on Tuesday) © Provided by Daily Mail Thousands of people are stranded in the seaside town of Mallacoota (pictured trapped on the beach on Tuesday) NSW Police confirmed a total of seven people have been killed and two are unaccounted for in the South Coast bushfires since Monday.

The deaths include dairy farmer Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, who died trying to save their property in Cobargo, near Bega.

Young father and volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, 28, was also among those confirmed dead after he was killed by a fire tornado.

A firefighter hosing down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses in Nowra, NSW, on Tuesday © Provided by Daily Mail A firefighter hosing down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses in Nowra, NSW, on Tuesday A 70-year-old man was found dead outside a home at Yatte Yattah, west of Lake Conjola, on Tuesday night, while another man's body was found in a burnt vehicle on a road off the Princes Highway at Yatte Yattah Wednesday morning.

The body of a man was found in a vehicle on Wandra Road at Sussex Inlet about 11.30am Wednesday but is yet to be formally identified, while a seventh body was found outside a home Coolagolite, about 10km east of Cobargo, on Wednesday.

Beloved great-grandfather Mick Roberts, 67, from Buchan, in East Gippsland, as found dead at his home on Wednesday morning.

a man riding on the back of a fire: This picture taken on December 31, 2019 shows a firefighter hosing down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses from bushfires near the town of Nowra on the NSW south coast © Provided by Daily Mail This picture taken on December 31, 2019 shows a firefighter hosing down trees and flying embers in an effort to secure nearby houses from bushfires near the town of Nowra on the NSW south coast Meanwhile, a 72-year-old man is unaccounted for at Belowra, 50km north-west of Cobargo.

An 81-year-old woman who was missing from Conjola Park was found alive on Wednesday.

This bushfire season NSW has lost more than 1,000 homes have been razed and entire towns, including Mogo and Cobargo have been destroyed.

At least 110 fires are still burning across New South Wales, with seven burning at a watch and act warning level. More than 40 significant bushfires are still burning in Victoria.

Four remain missing after the inferno tore through East Gippsland this week.

The Australian Defence Force are helping to respond to fires raging in Victoria's East Gippsland where four people are missing in blazes which have destroyed at least 43 homes.

In addition to the homes and lives lost, those who remain are faced with increasingly stretched resources.

More than 30 fires are still burning in the state of Tasmania, with at least seven of those of significance.

smoke coming out of the water: This satellite image shows the devastation of the fires devastating the coastal town of Batemans Bay, on the NSW south coast, early Wednesday morning as the blaze continues to spread © Provided by Daily Mail This satellite image shows the devastation of the fires devastating the coastal town of Batemans Bay, on the NSW south coast, early Wednesday morning as the blaze continues to spread One home has been destroyed during the blazes, which have decimated 8,000 hectares of land.

Two people died in South Australian fires in late December after an out-of-control fire tore through the Adelaide Hills.

Ron Selth, a 69-year-old engineer, died in the Cudlee Creek bushfire on December 19.

He was remembered by family and friends as a doting and generous man.

2019/2020 FIRE SEASON DEATH TOLL

NSW Police confirmed a total of seven people have been killed and two are unaccounted for in the South Coast bushfires since Monday.

a car parked on pavement near a forest: Vehicles gutted by bushfires are seen in the town of Lake Conjola in New South Wales on January 1, 2020 © Provided by Daily Mail Vehicles gutted by bushfires are seen in the town of Lake Conjola in New South Wales on January 1, 2020 The recent deaths include dairy farmer Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, who died trying to save their property in Cobargo, near Bega.

A 70-year-old man was found dead outside a home at Yatte Yattah, west of Lake Conjola, on Tuesday night, while another man's body was found in a burnt vehicle on a road off the Princes Highway at Yatte Yattah Wednesday morning.

a train on a steel track: Destroyed buildings are seen in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 202. Several bushfire-ravaged communities in NSW have greeted the new year under immediate threat © Provided by Daily Mail Destroyed buildings are seen in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 202. Several bushfire-ravaged communities in NSW have greeted the new year under immediate threat The body of a man was found in a vehicle on Wandra Road at Sussex Inlet about 11.30am Wednesday but is yet to be formally identified, while a seventh body was found outside a home Coolagolite, about 10km east of Cobargo, on Wednesday.

Beloved great-grandfather Mick Roberts, 67, from Buchan, in East Gippsland, was found dead at his home on Wednesday morning.

On Sunday, young father and volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul, 28, was fighting a blaze in Jingellic, in Green Valley, about 70km east of Albury on the border of NSW and Victoria, when the truck he was in rolled, killing him instantly.

Two other firefighters died on December 19 after a tree fell on their truck while they were travelling through Buxton, south of Sydney.

Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, and Geoffrey Keaton, 32, were later named as the volunteers involved in the tragic accident the following day.

Both men were young fathers and had volunteered with the Horsley Park Rural Fire Service brigade for more than a decade.

Two people also died in South Australian fires before Christmas, including 69-year-old engineer Ron Selth.

His body was found in his Charleston home, which was destroyed by the Cudlee Creek blaze on December 21.

a car parked on the side of a road: Many people have taken the advice to flee the area, however, this has created a backlog of traffic out of Batemans Bay (pictured: Cars line up to leave the town of Batemans Bay in New South Wales to head north) © Provided by Daily Mail Many people have taken the advice to flee the area, however, this has created a backlog of traffic out of Batemans Bay (pictured: Cars line up to leave the town of Batemans Bay in New South Wales to head north) Another person died in a fiery car crash on the same day.

In early November, just weeks into the horror fire season which has been baring down on the nation for months, three people perished in northern NSW.

George Nole's body was found in a burnt out car near his home in Glen Innes while 63-year-old Julie Fletcher's body was pulled from a scorched building in Johns River, north of Taree.

Vivian Chaplain, a 69-year-old woman from Wytaliba, succumbed to her injuries in hospital after attempting in vain to save her home and animals from the blaze.

a train on a track with smoke coming out of it: Conditions are expected to get worse on Saturday with smoke filling the air. Pictured: Wattle Creek Fire on December 19 © Provided by Daily Mail Conditions are expected to get worse on Saturday with smoke filling the air. Pictured: Wattle Creek Fire on December 19 The fourth victim was named just days later as 58-year-old Barry Parsons.

His body was discovered in bushland on the southern end of the Kyuna Track at Willawarrin, near Kempsey, on November 13.

77-year-old Bob Lindsey and 68-year-old Gwen Hyde were found in their burned out property on October 9th.

'He will be remembered for his incredible – sometimes injury-causing – hugs and will be deeply missed by his family and his many friends,' Mr Selth's family said in a statement.

a man standing next to a tractor: Business owner Sally Anne Wilson (left) stands in front of her destroyed shop with her partner Christopher Lee in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 2020 © Provided by Daily Mail Business owner Sally Anne Wilson (left) stands in front of her destroyed shop with her partner Christopher Lee in Cobargo, NSW, Wednesday, January 1, 2020 'Some people give firm hugs - I don't know what's beyond firm, but that's what Dad occasionally delivered. When he gave a hug, he meant it.'

The grandfather's body was found on his Charleston property after the bushfires swept through.

Another fatality was reported at Lameroo when a car hit a tree, sparking a grass fire.

a large ship in the water: HMAS Choules (pictured leaving Sydney Harbour on Wednesday) will provide relief to 4,000 people who remain stranded in Mallacoota, Victoria © Provided by Daily Mail HMAS Choules (pictured leaving Sydney Harbour on Wednesday) will provide relief to 4,000 people who remain stranded in Mallacoota, Victoria About 20 fires are still burning across the state. Again, seven are currently of significance.

At least 90 homes have been destroyed by the inferno in the state so far this season.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall said there were 'scenes of absolute devastation' as residents returned to their homes that had been reduced to rubble.

a group of people riding on the back of a truck: Pictured: People lining up to use a public telephone booth after telephone reception was cut across the south coast of NSW © Provided by Daily Mail Pictured: People lining up to use a public telephone booth after telephone reception was cut across the south coast of NSW Emergency crews also suffered injuries with 23 firefighters injured, one seriously, and two police officers needing treatment.

On the west coast of Australia, another 40 bushfires are still burning.

The fire has only destroyed one home, despite burning through more than 1.2million hectares of land.

AUSTRALIA'S FIVE DAY WEATHER FORECAST:

 SYDNEY

Thursday: Min 21, Max 24

Friday: Min 22, Max 28 

Saturday: Min 21, Max 33 

Sunday: Min 22, Max 26

Monday:  Min 21, Max 24

BRISBANE 

Thursday: Min 23, Max 31

Friday: Min 22, Max 31 

Saturday: Min 21, Max 31 

Sunday: Min 21, Max 31

Monday:  Min 22, Max 31

MELBOURNE 

Thursday: Min 15, Max 26

Friday: Min 15, Max 35 

Saturday: Min 22, Max 29 

Sunday: Min 15, Max 19

Monday:  Min 15, Max 24

ADELAIDE 

Thursday: Min 15, Max 34

Friday: Min 25, Max 42 

Saturday: Min 19, Max 25 

Sunday: Min 14, Max 23

Monday:  Min 13, Max 27

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

HOBART 

Thursday: Min 15, Max 23

Friday: Min 13, Max 25 

Saturday: Min 17, Max 28 

Sunday: Min 11, Max 22

Monday:  Min 11, Max 24

PERTH

Thursday: Min 17, Max 26

Friday: Min 13, Max 24 

Saturday: Min 13, Max 28 

Sunday: Min 17, Max 36

Monday:  Min 19, Max 32

DARWIN  

Thursday: Min 26, Max 34

Friday: Min 26, Max 35 

Saturday: Min 26, Max 35 

Sunday: Min 26, Max 34

Monday:  Min 26, Max 34

CANBERRA 

Thursday: Min 13, Max 35

Friday: Min 15, Max 38 

Saturday: Min 18, Max 42 

Sunday: Min 18, Max 34

Monday:  Min 15, Max 23

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