So here we are well into 2009, and here I am starting my CENTURY 21 blog. Sadly I am commencing with discussion of tragic circumstances, as I think every Australian’s thoughts are currently either on, or not far from, the bushfire crisis and the victims of what is being called Australia’s worst natural disaster. The immediate and significant support for these people from the Australian public has been overwhelming and shows the camaraderie and compassion of this nation, particularly in times of need. When even the banks are coming on board to offer mortgage and interest freezes, possibly even the wiping of loans for those who have literally lost everything, it makes it even more apparent just how big a crisis this is, and the long term effects of this disaster for so many people is inconceivable.
One thing the last week has driven home for me is that at the end of the day, material possessions are replaceable and it is the loss of human life that is the greatest cost in a time such as this. We are seeing so many stories come to the fore of brave property owners who chose to stay and defend their homes, only to lose both their houses and their lives. Even a family home is not worth a life, and the debate to allow home owners the choice to stay during fires of this scale still rages. Material possessions are lovely to have but at the end of the day a house is just a house, and for the majority of the population it’s the people and the love in a house that makes it a home. If these lives are saved and these relationships are able to continue, the rest can be rebuilt.
I have been so pleased to see that many of the CENTURY 21 Offices have taken the initiative to organise their own fundraisers to contribute towards the disaster relief, as have so many other institutions and companies around the nation. Please donate generously to whichever appeal is your preference, and hopefully the victims of this disaster will be able to rebuild their lives and their homes very soon.