Australians held a national day of mourning Sunday for the victims of wildfires that killed hundreds this month, and survivors were promised the nation would support them in the massive task of rebuilding.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the hellish blazes of "Black Saturday" on Feb. 7 had tested the nation's character, and the response was courage, compassion and resilience.
"In recent days we have witnessed unspeakable suffering," Rudd said at a mourning ceremony broadcast nationally. "We have lost mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, we have lost brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, the tiniest of children.
"All these are precious lives. No words can provide solace for grief so personal. But simply know this: You who suffer are not alone," he said.