Hon’ble Lyonchhen (Dr.) Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan, members of the Cabinet, representatives from the diplomatic community, senior officials of the Royal Government of Bhutan, Australian volunteers, and Bhutanese alumni, conducted a prayer ceremony and offered butter lamp in Simtokha Dzong today, for the victims of the ongoing bushfire in Australia, which began in September 2019. According to various reports, the fires have claimed at least 24 lives while dozens are still missing. In addition to the fatalities, the fires have destroyed more than 1,500 homes, as well as millions of acres of bushland, killing, according to an estimate, nearly half a billion animals in the worst-hit state of New South Wales (NSW) alone. Nationally, more than 6.3 million hectares of land have been affected by the fires.
Though much attention has centered on NSW, which declared a week-long state of emergency last Friday, every state and territory has been affected. The fires burn along stretches of the eastern and southern coast, which is where most of the population lives. Apart from NSW and Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania have also been affected.
Till date, no Bhutanese have been affected in the crisis. However as this is a fast escalating and changing situation, the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Bangkok is in constant touch with the representatives of Bhutanese communities in the various states.
Hon’ble Lyonchhen sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Australia, H.E. Mr. Scott Morrison, expressing our solidarity with the Australian Government on 1st January 2020.