Australian PM pays tribute to victims of "Black Summer"

Source: Xinhua| 2020-02-04 16:21:07|Editor: yhy
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CANBERRA, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Parliament resumed for 2020 on Tuesday, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison opening affairs by expressing sympathy and gratitude to the families of the 33 people who have died during the "Black Summer" of bushfires.

Thousands of buildings have been destroyed, more than 10 million hectares burned and wildlife devastated by the bushfires.

Morrison thanked volunteers, Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and international allies who have sent aid to Australia during the crisis.

"This is the black summer of 2019/20 that has proven our national character and our resolve. A national trauma, best described by Indigenous leaders who love our land so much as a grief for the victims; a heartache for our wildlife; and broken heart for the scarring of our land," he said.

"These fires are yet to end and danger is still before us in many, many places. But today we gather to mourn, honour, reflect and begin to learn from the black summer that continues and to give thanks for the selflessness, courage and sacrifice and generosity that met these fires time and again, and continue to."

Families of some volunteer firefighters who have died watched the proceedings.

The prime minister's leadership during the bushfires has been subjected to significant criticism, much of which stemmed from his decision to leave the country on a family holiday in December.

Speaking after Morrison, Anthony Albanese, the leader of the Opposition Labor Party, paid tribute to volunteer firefighters.