By KATE HUNTER
Bundaberg in particular, has been devastated by the biggest flood event in the town’s history. Other centres including Rockhampton, Gladstone and Gympie have been belted by high winds and torrential rain. The city of Ipswich and the communities of the Lockyer Valley are seeing their homes inundated and feeling their hearts breaking for the second time in as many years.
People have died and homes and businesses are lost.
I’m in Brisbane, I’ve lived here forty years and can’t remember anything like it. It wasn’t rain like we saw in 2011, it was wind too. Like a thunderstorm that lasted 3 days.
Here, the wind and rain seem to have passed. The kids are in the pool and I’ve got a cake in the oven, but less than 5km away, the river is rising and people are lugging furniture upstairs and clearing stock from shop floors. It’s another ‘blue sky flood’.
We’ve sent messages to worried friends, offering help; but we know and they know that the real work will come later. And it’ll take more than an afternoon. The good thing, if there is one, is this time there’s a bit of time to prepare – in 2011 it happened much more suddenly; and the 30 years since the previous big flood meant no one really knew what to do. It seemed more panicky.
But any flood is a bitch. Half a metre of water through your just-repaired house can be as devastating as three metres. To have it happen again is like falling on a bruised knee.
There’s a weariness in the air that I didn’t feel in 2011. A sense of cynical foreboding – will the insurance companies pay up? Will the ‘mud-armies’ mobilise again? Will people donate money? What’s the point when it’ll probably all just happen again?
The point, I suppose, is there’s no choice. This is where we live – the river has always snaked its way through my city. Storms have always pounded our coast.
But people – not only Queenslanders – but all regular, decent people, have always helped their neighbours, and they will again.
The Queensland State Government and the Red Cross have launched a national appeal to help those affected by the flooding. You can donate by calling 1800 811 700 or visiting www.redcross.org.au
We’re hoping that all Mamamia readers are staying warm, dry and safe. What is the weather like where you are right now? What are your memories of the 2011 floods in Queensland?