Death toll in Australian bushfire rises to 21

SYDNEY:- On Saturday, bushfires continued to rage in Australia amidst "catastrophic" conditions in the south of the country where two more deaths have been confirmed, increasing the death toll to 21.

The two deaths occurred on Kangaroo Island, some 112 km from Adelaide, South Australia, where more than 100,000 hectares have been razed, mostly in Flinders Chase National Park, which is home to 60,000 kangaroos and 50,000 koala bears, as per the Efe news reports. 

"This is taking a very heavy toll," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters, adding that more than 1,500 homes lost to fires across the country since September.

"Our condolences to those who continue to suffer and many of those who are left in absolutely disastrous situations as we speak," he said, and announced the deployment of 3,000 defence force reservists and the HMAS Adelaide navy ship to aid in the evacuation of those affected.

The Prime Minister added that in "the next 24 to 48 hours are going to be incredibly difficult for bushfire conditions", with temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius and strong winds in the south and southeastern regions of the country, particularly in Victoria and New South Wales (NSW) states.

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