Brown pledges help for Australia over bushfires

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brown has pledged British assistance dealing with devastating bush fires which have killed more than 80 people and destroyed hundreds of homes in Australia.

Downing Street said the Prime Minister had telephoned his counterpart Kevin Rudd to offer sympathy and assistance dealing with the country's deadliest blazes.

"The Prime Minister spoke to Kevin Rudd this morning to extend our sympathies to the Australian people, especially those families who have been affected by this tragedy," a Number 10 spokesman said.

"He praised Kevin Rudd's leadership at this very difficult time, and said that the UK stood ready to provide any assistance that the Australian Government wanted."

Extreme temperatures and strong winds have fanned the flames, which have devoured entire towns across a swath of the Victoria state in the south east of Australia.

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