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VIC: 35 killed in Victorian bushfires, police

08 Feb 2009 2:13 PM

The death toll from Victoria's savage bushfires has risen to 35 .. with at least another eight people in critical condition in hospital.

The latest police update includes nine people killed in the Churchill fire in Gippsland in the state's east .. four in Callignee .. one in Upper Callignee .. three in Hazelwood and one at Jeeralang.

The other deaths were all to the north of Melbourne .. one in Bendigo and the rest in the massive blaze around Kinglake.

Police expect they'll include children.

Victoria's police chief commissioner CHRISTINE NIXON says sadly .. they're predicting more deaths as police press into the fire zones to check deserted vehicles and hundreds of homes destroyed in yesterday's inferno.

Premier JOHN BRUMBY says at least 20 people are in The Alfred hospital in Melbourne .. eight with serious burns to 30 per cent of their body.

Prime Minister KEVIN RUDD's announced a joint federal-state 10 million dollar emergency relief fund for the victims .. with emergency Centrelink payments available to those needing help now.

He says hell and all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria in the last 24 hours .. and many lie dead and injured in an appalling tragedy for the state and the nation.

The entire township of Marysville in the Yarra Valley is gone .. its residents evacuated safely to a local sports ground .. and more than 20 fires continue to burn across Victoria.