As Australians come to terms with the sheer scale of the destruction from the fires in Victoria, on an almost hourly basis the grisly search for survivors uncovers more victims.
Even though Australia has a lengthy history of coping with and surviving natural disasters, including bushfires, this latest catastrophe has stunned and shaken the country.
This time the scale and speed of the fires has shocked all involved and as the death toll climbs to 173 and the grim devastation is revealed, authorities warn that worse is yet to come.
According to the police 35 people have died at Kinglake, 26 at Strathewen and 22 in St Andrews, north of Melbourne and the Country Fire Authority (CFA) says the bodies have been found in several fire zones and spread through a number of areas and the numbers of fatalities are expected to rise throughout the day.
Experts warn that the fires remain a threat and alerts have been issued concerning the Yea-Murrindindi fire, which has broken containment lines along the eastern side of Black Ridge and residents around Healesville, Yarra Glen and Chum Creek, north-east of Melbourne and Toolangito have been alerted for heavy ember attack from the bushfires.
The prospect of increased fire activity later today has fire-fighters in Victoria's north-east preparing for the worse with spot fires on the eastern edge of the fire, burning near Beechworth causing concern.
Communities around the Dederang and Running Creek area have also been warned to stay alert with increased wind activity expected today.
Those in the worse affected areas of Kinglake and Marysville have united in the face of the disaster, while some 4,000 fire-fighters from every state and territory continue to battle blazes across the state, which have to date destroyed more than 740 homes and are still threatening property in some areas.
Appeals have gone out from the Rural Doctor's Association for GPs in non-fire affected areas to help ease the burden on doctors in eastern and central Victoria in coping with victims of the disaster.
Some affected communities have lost their doctor surgeries and many of the local GPs are involved in the firefighting effort, meanwhile patients continue to have ongoing needs for medication as well as treatment for minor injuries from the burns.
More importantly many will also need psychological counselling to deal with some of the events they have experienced.
The Australian Psychological Society (APS) says once the immediate focus on sheer survival and rescue is over most people will show signs of distress.
The APS says at this point, survivors benefit most from simple practical and emotional support, getting some order and control back into their lives and having their emotions validated as the normal reactions to severe stress.
Professor Bob Montgomery, President of the APS says these are basic components of psychological first aid, to help people heal themselves, but two common errors can occur in the immediate post-disaster stage that can cause later problems.
Professor Montgomery says many survivors will be in psychological shock, emotionally frozen and quiet, a reaction often misinterpreted as indicating they have not been badly affected by their experience and don't need much psychological support.
The second error occurs when well-meaning people encourage survivors to take the attitude to 'just forget it, you're safe now' , but this well-meaning attempt at reassurance can induce the survivor to believe there was something wrong with their reactions during or after the crisis.
He says it's more helpful to normalise their reactions as being how most people react to a traumatic experience and he says most people have a great capacity for healing themselves and don't need any special professional help to deal with the psychological impact of a traumatic event, just practical and emotional support.