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Fires Affected Three in Four Australians, Study Finds

In Australia, almost three million people – 14% of the population – have been forced to evacuate or have their homes destroyed or damaged.

Fires that affected, directly or indirectly, a very large part of the country. Three-quarters of Australians, nearly 18 million people, have been affected by the forest fire crisis, according to a study published Tuesday, February 18.

This survey, conducted by the Australian National University, shows the human scale of these fires that burned for five months, killing more than 30 and destroying several thousand homes.

Almost all Australians have been affected by these fires and many of us will suffer the consequences in the years to come.Nicholas Biddle, social scientist

This study, conducted among 3,000 people, shows that 14% of the adult population, or nearly three million inhabitants, has been directly affected by this crisis. They were forced to evacuate or saw their homes destroyed or damaged. Some 15 million Australians were indirectly affected by these fires, due to the toxic smoke they emitted or the vacation plans they had to change.

This size, which surprised the researchers, should be of concern to the government. Australian authorities are accused of failing to provide the right answers to the crisis, and of little concern about issues related to climate change. Scientists say global warming has exacerbated the seasonal fire crisis, fueled by particularly hot and dry weather in recent months on the huge island continent.

Conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been criticized for going on vacation to Hawaii in the midst of the crisis, and for refusing to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Only 27% of those surveyed said they had confidence or very much confidence in their government. It is one of the biggest declines in confidence I have ever seen in such a short time.Nicholas Biddle, social scientist

The government is a staunch supporter of the very powerful and lucrative Australian mining industry. Among those who voted in favor of the government in the last legislative elections in May, support for the construction of new coal mines fell to 57% in January, compared to 72% before the fire crisis.

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