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Royals send messages of condolence to those affected by Australian wildfires

The Queen said she was ‘deeply saddened’, while Harry and Meghan and William and Kate said their thoughts and prayers are with Australians.

Firefighters drag their water hose after putting out a spot fire near Moruya (Rick Rycroft/AP)
Firefighters drag their water hose after putting out a spot fire near Moruya (Rick Rycroft/AP)

By Luke Powell, PA

The Queen and other senior royals have sent messages of condolence to those affected by the devastating wildfires in Australia.

At least 20 people have died and more than 1,400 homes have been destroyed in blazes which have ravaged the country in recent months.

Collectively, an area covering more than 20,000 square miles has been burnt by wildfires around the country – an area almost the size of Croatia.

My thanks go out to the emergency services, and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need The Queen

The Queen, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge all issued separate messages of condolence to those affected on Saturday.

In a message addressed to the Governor General of Australia, Governor of New South Wales, Governor of Queensland, the Governor of Victoria and to all Australians, the Queen said: “I have been deeply saddened to hear of the continued bushfires and their devastating impact across many parts of Australia.

“My thanks go out to the emergency services, and those who put their own lives in danger to help communities in need.

“Prince Philip and I send our thoughts and prayers to all Australians at this difficult time.”

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Harry and Meghan said in an Instagram post on their official SussexRoyal account that they were “struck by the increasingly overlapping presence” of environmental disasters around the world.

Their post said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those across Australia who are continuing to face the devastating fires that have been raging for months.

“From areas we are personally connected to such as the communities and people we visited in New South Wales in 2018, to the fires in California and parts of Africa, we are struck by the increasingly overlapping presence of these environmental disasters, including of course the destruction of the Amazon which continues.

“This global environmental crisis has now been described as ecocide. It’s easy to feel helpless, but there’s always a way to help.”

The couple included links to fundraising pages for the New South Wales rural fire service and Red Cross.

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Yui Mok/PA)

Meanwhile, William and Kate said in a post on their KensingtonRoyal Instagram account: “We send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who have tragically lost their lives, and the brave firemen who continue to risk their own lives to save the lives of others.”

At least eight people have died this week in New South Wales and neighbouring Victoria, Australia’s two most populous states, where more than 200 fires are currently burning.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has been criticised for his response to the fires, on Saturday called up 3,000 defence force reservists as the threat of wildfires escalated.

PA

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