Fires update at 10am
Wednesday, 9 January 2013 - 10:27am
Police and State Emergency Service personnel have conducted preliminary screening searches of 731 properties in the fire affected area in the South East.
No human remains have been located at this stage.
Of those searched so far, 126 properties were destroyed or damaged.
Searches resume today with the assistance of a contingent of Victoria Police personnel who arrived in the State and were sworn in as special constables this morning.
Acting Commissioner of Police, Scott Tilyard, said police continue to collate data generated from the ground search teams and transpose it to map format.
“It’s important to note that at this stage, police have no official missing persons reports,” Mr Tilyard said. “People have, of course, called the National Registration Inquiry System about the whereabouts of people, which police are prioritising according to information we have.
“For example, the NRIS operated by the Red Cross includes information received by people concerned about the welfare of individuals, as well as people registering the fact that they are safe and well.
“We are working with the Red Cross to cross reference the details with information received from numerous sources that individuals are okay.
“It is a complex process, as the sources of information include data from refuge centres, lists from ferries involved in evacuations, and attendance by police at individuals’ homes to confirm they are safe and well.
“At this point, more than 2200 individuals have been identified as safe and well. My advice is there are no reports of missing persons in circumstances that cause us to have grave fears for their safety at this time.
“It’s important to realise that it’s impossible to accurately estimate numbers because the “list” is continually changing. For example, we will determine people are safe and well, while at the same time, further registrations are coming in. There is a significant number of people known to have left the Tasman Peninsula who have not registered, and we strongly urge them to do so as soon as possible to assist us in consolidating our information.”
Tasmania Police is utilising software developed by Victoria Police after the Victorian bushfires.
Police understand the frustrations of property owners who have been unable to return to their homes and a major priority is planning to expedite their return to residences that are intact. This will be subject to safety clearance by search teams and under certain circumstances. Further detail will be provided when finalised.
The escort of non-emergency vehicles out of the Nubeena area continued last night, but the 6pm convoy escorting 157 vehicles was forced to detour via Sugarloaf Road to avoid a fallen tree on the Arthur Highway. After the highway was cleared, a second convoy of 7 vehicles was able to be safety escorted from the area.
A convoy of essential supplies into the area is scheduled to leave Sorell this morning. The Arthur Highway remains closed at this stage.
People who would like information on the bushfire recovery process can subscribe to email updates at http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/bushfires_in_tasmania
For more information on the fire situation and support services, contact 1800 567 567. Up-to-date information on the fires can also be found at the Tasmania Fire Service website www.fire.tas.gov.au. Police information is also available at www.police.tas.gov.au. Information on grants and other support available to those affected by fires can be found at www.dpac.tas.gov.au/bushfires
There are many people who remain unaccounted for, and police urge
people to register their details with the National Registration and Inquiry
Service on 1800 727 077 or via www.redcross.org.au.
Tasmania Police Media & Communications
(03) 6230 2296