Temperatures have risen to 40C in southeast Australia causing devastation as bush fires worsen and tourists are told that they can no longer leave the region.
East Gippsland, Victoria has around 30,000 tourists who can no longer leave the area as the fires have become too dangerous. Many holidaymakers have decided to stay – despite emergency warnings being issued.
Travellers and locals are now being told by Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) they are, ‘in danger and need to act immediately to survive.’ Regular updates are being made on the incidents page of the Victorian Emergency website with advice on what to do as well as times and locations of bush fires.
FFMV are advising people against travel to high-risk areas, stating; ‘you must take shelter before the fire arrives. The extreme heat is likely to kill you well before the flames reach you.’ More information can be found by visiting the FFMV website.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are directing travellers to ‘monitor TV news, radio and social media channels for updates, and follow the instructions and advice of local authorities’ if they are planning to travel.
If you are due to travel to any of the affected areas in the upcoming days – you should contact your airline or tour operator. Provided your trip was booked as part of a package holiday, your tour operator is responsible for either; finding you a suitable alternative or refunding the cost of your trip.
Major incidents may be covered by your travel insurance if you have a Force Majeure section as part of your policy – however, this cover is not always available as standard so make sure to read your policy wording carefully to check if you are eligible for cover. The policy will cover you in the event your accommodation has become uninhabitable as a result of the bush fires – that being said if you decide you want to cut your trip short because you no longer want to stay in the region – you will not be compensated as curtailment is not covered under Force Majeure.