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Australian Wildfires: <> situation across country

JENNIFER HALL

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

- Hello, I'm Jennifer Hall. You're watching CBC News network. Also ahead...

AUSTRALIAN WOMAN:

...just at the place where I was they said they expected impact at the house in the next twenty, the thirty minutes...

TEXT ON SCREEN:

«Volatile and unpredictable» situation across country.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

Volatile and unpredictable wildfires force thousands from their homes across Australia. Now 3,000 reserved troops will be deployed as the situation worsens. -

Australia's Prime Minister has called in the army to help fight wildfires there. Late this afternoon, the Canadian government also offered more assistance. A total of 23 people are now confirmed dead since the fire season began last September. More than 200 fires continue to burn. Extremely hot temperatures and shifting winds are not helping. Meaghan Wegg and her family are from Montreal. She's the mother of two children, ages five and three. They've been visiting Australia for the past few weeks and found themselves waiting to be taken to safety. Meaghan Wegg joins us now from Mallacoota. We really appreciate you making the time, Megan. Tell us, what is your situation, where are you? And how are you doing?

TEXT ON SCREEN:

Canadians stuck in fire zone

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

(Mallacoota, Australia) Hi. Well, very stressed out right now. We were on the top priority list to be evacuated, and we had three attempts, and then, we woke up this morning in the shelter, on the floor, to find out that they had already - they changed the list, and now, we're on the fourth evacuation list. One has already been out, and I'm not sure if they had takeoff yet.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

What did that mean? What's your best guess as to timing them, being fourth on the evacuation list? Could that mean hours or days?

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

I'm hoping hours, but it's been a few days that we've been waiting, so you never know.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

What has life been like in a shelter there in Mallacoota with your children?

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

Well, it's clear today, but it was very scary when each day, the smoke, it gets harder and harder to breathe. You have to wear masks. The kids want to eat something like toasts and go play the park, and we can do that. Yesterday, we put on our masks and I took them to the park when we were on evacuation priority list. And then the local cafe was open, so I asked them if they could make toast, and the kids loved that. Yesterday, we tried to get on the bus, another attempt, which failed. So we're constantly on stand by and constantly in the shelter. All the crew is pretty amazing. We have lots of water now, and there's boxes of food and toiletries, and we were able to have a shower with donated towels and soap and everything because we have nothing.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

You say you're on the floor of the shelter. Do you have something to sleep on?

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

Yeah, there's crash mats, gymnastic crash mats to make it more comfortable, but we're all sleeping on one as a family.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

Whoa, certainly not ideal for several days with two very young children. Megan, when you do eventually make it onto an air lift, where do you expect you'll be taken and how long will it take to get to family you have in Melbourne?

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

Yeah. Apparently, there's a town called (inaudible), like a (inaudible) boat. Fires going that way. The smoke was just a bit too much yesterday. But we have a friend, very close friend that I went to college with, he drove four hours from Melbourne to meet us, and he had to turnaround and drive back because we didn't arrive. My in-laws, David and Lynn went on the boat but took twenty hours and they are safe at home now. They are waiting in Melbourne, but all the cars are here locked up because we had to evacuate everything. My friend is going to pick us up and take us to Melbourne where all our family members are.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

That will be such a welcome reunification I'm sure. Meaghan, what do you tell your children how and why you're going through this?

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

Well, the last two nights we just thought we had an adventure at the cinema, sleeping on the floor and we're camping out. So, we're making at fun. Georgia just have her birthday two days ago. So we were in the smoke, and I gathered 12 friends and families and kids, and give them a lot of birthday hats. We're just telling them it's an adventure. They don't really understand. Georgia, she is juts three now, she's like wow, it's dark, wow, it's smoky, so we're trying to explain it that way, rather than freak them out and stress them.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

Well, Meaghan, it certainly sounds you are making the best for your children. And we wish you all the best, we hope your air lift is momentarily. The Canadian Meaghan Wegg, joining us from Mallacoota. Thank you so much for your time.

MEAGHAN WEGG (CANADIAN WAITING TO BE AIRLIFTED FROM BUSHFIRES):

Thank you.

JENNIFER HALL (HOST):

You are watching CBC News network.

DMU Timestamp: November 27, 2019 01:26





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