An Irish man living in Australia has spoken about his experience after being caught up in the wildfires ravaging the eastern coast of the country.
Diarmuid O'Connor from Ennis in Co Clare spoke to Damien O'Reilly this morning on Today with Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ Radio 1 as he was stuck in evacuation traffic on the Princes Highway in New South Wales.
At least eight people have died this week in NSW and neighbouring Victoria, Australia’s two most-populous states, where more than 200 fires are currently burning.
Diarmuid said that he and his family woke on New Years Eve in Batemans Bay, where they were on holidays, and were told they had to evacuate the campsite and move to the beaches.
"We stayed on the beach for maybe two hours while the fires burned around us," he said.
"I thought were ok but then we saw there were a lot of water bombers coming into the town, dropping loads of water..."
"It was a very intense couple of hours."
"It's just been mayhem for two days, no power, no internet - the lack of communication has been a big issue"
Diarmuid said they left the town this morning and has been travelling for 12 hours and have only moved 60 kilometres.
"Essentially, we're sitting in the world's biggest car park," he said.
He and his family were stuck in a town called Milton at the time of the call.
"The road has apparently opened up ahead of us. They're letting 100 cars go at a time but I'd be very surprised if we move anywhere in the next 4/5 hours."
Current status = gridlocked.— Diarmuid O'Connor (@dd_o_connor) January 2, 2020
Highway closed up ahead so traffic at a standstill. Left Batemans Bay at 8.30. Have traveled about 60km in 6 hours. At this stage the traffic jam must be going back the full distance to Batemans.
People still pretty relaxed pic.twitter.com/qGVnJNnIEy
Listen to the full interview below.