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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ‘Shocked and Saddened’ by Australia Bushfires

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have expressed their shock and sadness about the catastrophic bushfire ravaging Australia in a statement released by Kensington Palace. The royals, who visited the country in 2014 paid tribute to the “brave firemen who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others”.

They said: “We continue to be shocked and deeply saddened to hear about the wild fires that are destroying homes, livelihoods and wildlife across much of Australia.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the people and communities who are affected by this devastating event.

“We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives, and the brave firemen who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others.”

The royals, who visited the country with their newborn son Prince George in April 2014, had previously showed their support by tweeting: “Our followers in Australia can find out the latest information on the fires by following the accounts on this list.”

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have also added their voices to the messages of support. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those across Australia who are continuing to face the devastating fires that have been raging for months.

“From areas we are personally connected to such as the communities and people we visited in New South Wales in 2018, to the fires in California and parts of Africa, we are struck by the increasingly overlapping presence of these environmental disasters, including of course the destruction of the Amazon which continues.

“This global environmental crisis has now been described as Ecocide. It’s easy to feel helpless, but there’s always a way to help.”

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The fires which is one of the worst in the country’s history has been burning since September with 23 recorded fatalities and over 4,000 destroyed homes. Images of kangaroos and other animals fleeing the flames have moved many all over the world. The fires are a seasonal occurrence in Australia during the bushfire season. But they have been exacerbated by a hot, dry spell. Temperatures have reached record highs soaring to an average maximum of 40.9C on 17 December and eclipsed a day later by 41.9C.

The Queen has also sent a message of condolence to those affected by the tragedy. In a message addressed to the Governor General of Australia, Governor of New South Wales, Governor of Queensland, the Governor of Victoria and to all Australians, the Queen said:  “I have been deeply saddened to hear of the continued bushfires and their devastating impact across many parts of Australia.

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“My thanks go out to the emergency services, and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need. Prince Philip and I send our thoughts and prayers to all Australians at this difficult time.”

The singer Pink has pledged to donate $500,000 (£382,000) to the Australian fire service after saying she was “totally devastated” at watching the crisis unfold.

Tennis player, Nick Kyrgios, has pledged to donate 200 dollars for every ace he hits at every tournament he enters in January. “I don’t care about the praise too much. We have the ability and platform to do something,” Kyrgios said.

Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, who has been criticised for his response to the fires when he refused to return from holiday, on Saturday called up 3,000 defence force reservists as the fires escalated.

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