With smoke tormenting cities including Canberra, Sydney and now Melbourne, doctors have warned of increased respiratory dangers – especially to vulnerable people, including pregnant women.

MELBOURNE: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday announced an additional 2 billion dollars over two years to a new agency to coordinate a national response to rebuild communities and livelihoods following the deadly bushfire crisis.

The bushfire crisis has taken a very heavy toll with more than 1,500 homes already lost throughout the course of this fire season, which has been running since September, according to the government.

The agency would be funded with an initial 2 billion Australian dollars (USD 1.38 billion) to ensure the families, farmers and business owners hit by the unprecedented bushfires would get the support they needed as they recover, the Prime Minister said.

“It’s a long road ahead and we will be with these communities every step of the way as they rebuild,” Morrison, who is facing widespread criticism in Australia for his handling of the crisis, said.

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