Scott Morrison shares emotional hugs with bushfire victims whose homes were flattened by raging infernos
- The PM shared hugs and kind words with the victims of South Australia’s fires
- More than 25,000 hectares has burnt in the Adelaide Hills, and 84 homes lost
- The wine industry was hit hard – with about 1100 hectares of vines destroyed
- The victims described the devastation as ‘heart-wrenching’
Scott Morrison has been handing out hugs on Christmas Eve to support the victims of the South Australian bushfires.
The prime minister embraced emotional residents and offered his condolences as he toured the fire grounds of the Adelaide Hills, where more than 25,000 hectares have been burnt, over 500 buildings destroyed and 84 homes lost.
Residents are now sifting through what remains of their homes and businesses.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison hugged Winemaker Jan Siemelink-Allen while visiting the relief centre in Lobethal, South Australia after fires swept through the Adelaide Hills
In total 1100 hectares of vines from the South Australian wine industry were also destroyed.
Among those were ten hectares belonging to Winemaker Jan Siemelink-Allen.
As she hugged Mr Morrison, Ms Allen told him she now understands why people stay and defend their properties instead of fleeing when emergency warnings are raised.
‘I understand that incredible pull that you have to go back,’ she told Mr Morrison holding back tears.
‘It’s so heartbreaking.
‘When we first came back here all I could think was I should have stayed, or I should have stayed longer or I should have done something differently.
‘But I don’t know what else we could have done.’
The prime minister also met victims at the Lobethal emergency relief centre in the heart of the fire ground on Tuesday.
Mr Morrison hugged Winemaker Helen Glanville (pictured) who lost ten hectares of vines at her South Australian vineyard
Helen Glanville escaped her property at Kenton Valley on the weekend with little more than the clothes on her back, losing her home and farm to the bushfires.
Despite this, she apologised to the prime minister and South Australian premier for her appearance when they met on Tuesday.
‘I told them I was sorry I didn’t have any make-up on, but that’s because I don’t have any anymore,’ she said.
Mr Morrison toured the fire-grounds of the Adelaide Hills on Christmas Eve where more than 25,000 hectares burnt from the recent bushfires
After returning to the property on Sunday she discovered her cattle were alive but nothing else was salvageable, describing the scene as ‘heart wrenching’.
The prime minister landed in Australia on Saturday night after widespread criticism over a decision to go on a family holiday to Hawaii while the nation was ablaze.
In a press conference on Sunday he apologised for his absence and said he would have made different decisions with the benefit of hindsight.
Since arriving back he has reiterated the federal government won’t be amending its climate policy as a response to the nation-wide bushfires, heatwaves or drought conditions.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured) toured a burnt-out property in Woodside, in the Adelaide Hils on Christmas Eve with SA Premier Steven Marshall