Life

Southeast Queensland floods.

14 January, 2011

In the past few weeks my state has flooded in several cities and towns, including my hometown Brisbane. Nick and I are safe (thanks for all the lovely messages!) and our home is untouched by the flood waters. We live in a flood prone suburb however our unit complex is on one of the highest parts, and we didn’t even suffer any powercuts. We were very fortunate.

A panoramic photo of a park that has been filled with brown water. To the left are cricket cages, in the background are trees on the right side is a road and rail bridge.
This park is on the road just behind the hill where our unit is. In the background you can see trees and they usually shield the little trickle of water called Norman Creek. It’s quite an impressive trickle at the moment! This flooding covers this particular road in two places and extends through low lying areas around here, cutting off homes and businesses as well as electricity thanks to intentional power cuts for safety’s sake. I just can’t even imagine how awful it would be to have had my home flooded. As I watch the news I see people trudging through thick brown mud and wiping it off the treasured belongings they’ve managed to salvage. Yeah, belongings aren’t everything but they sure can mean a lot if they’re attached to your family and loved ones.

Photo of me standing in front of a flooded street. I'm wearing a black tunic with jeans and my hair is a faded pink; behind me are trees extending out of the water.
Behind me is the street our big post office is on, I guess our mail service might be a little bit interrupted!

Photo of a floral covered seat cushion sitting on the footpath.
In some suburbs people’s belongings are strewn very far away from home but in my suburb this was the only debris we came across.

Photo of a flooded street. Houses now have a river frontage! A tree sits in the foreground, emerging from the water.
A few people now have water front properties… without the benefits.

In Queensland many farms, businesses and homes have been inundated with water, and to date 16 people have died while around 50 people are still missing. Queensland grows a lot of produce so even those who aren’t directly affected may still be affected with fresh food being in limited supply. Brisbane’s City Cats will likely not be back in the Brisbane River for months because the flood waters swept away most of the pontoons; and the Riverwalk was absolutely destroyed but tugboats guided rogue sections of it to prevent it from wreaking havoc along the river and the bridges that reach over it. Let’s hear it for tugboat captains!

We have been feeling so fortunate that we haven’t been flooded and we’re very enthusiastic about helping out, with so many parts of our city inundated, swept away and ruined. If you’ve been following me on Twitter, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been tweeting and retweeting quite a bit to help disseminate information for the benefit of local followers. Nick has been working on QLD Floods, a resource for Queenslanders to use to find or offer shelter and other information about the flooding. We are going to join the Lord Mayor’s flood clean up gang and help clear local areas and homes of water that could quickly turn stagnant and attract mozzies and yucky diseases.

I’ve seen some horrifying stuff happening over the last few weeks but I’ve also seen an outpouring of compassion and sacrifice too. And when I make that pun I really want you to understand that the kindness I’ve seen is really, really huge and widespread – like a good sort of flood to pushback against the widespread inundation of brown, mucky water. Twitter has been a magnificent way for us to keep in touch and up to date on things that are going on, but it’s also been a platform for organising help too. One of the most awesome things I’ve seen over the last few days has been Baked Relief created by Digella as a way of getting food and water to volunteers in affected areas as well as to the Volunteering Queensland headquarters. When the call went out to get water to 250 thirsty vollies at Yeronga I sent Nick out to deliver the 20L we had on hand. Why? Because working hard and having nothing to drink isn’t very pleasant and dehydration can be quite dangerous. Also because we were well over-prepared and had far too much water!

Wanna help out?

There’s lots of ways to help out Queenslanders who’ve been affected by the floods.

Volunteer to help the clean up through Volunteering Queensland. There’s a lot of great information on volunteering and staying safe on the Brisbane City Council site. If you are going to help with the clean up, please make sure you register with Volunteers Queensland because they will cover you for insurance purposes.

Clean up the Southside with Kevin Rudd – I don’t know if you saw it but Kevvy has been totally hands on helping out the residents in his electorate (which is also my electorate!)

Baked Relief at Digella Emporium – however there have been reports of volunteers being plyed with way too much food, so you can always check to see which locations need it by following @digellabakes on twitter.

Donate to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal – this money goes to the Queensland Government and will help affected families, farmers and businesses.

Donate to RSPCA QLD – lots of animals were displaced and the RSPCA needs help so they can help.

Donate to Lifeline Queensland so they can continue to provide important psychological counseling to those affected by the floods.

Photo of the statue of Wally Lewis, a rugby league hero in Australia; he holds up a shield full of awards. Someone has added inflatable floaties around his upper arms, and some goggles and a snorkle to his face.
Say what you want about Queenslanders, but we have an awesome sense of humour. For those who don’t know this is a statue of Wally Lewis, one of the heroes of rugby league in Australia. The stadium this statue stands in front of was totally flooded with water. Source: mackiemarsellos’ twitpic.

If you’re reading and have been affected by the flood, I hope you can get the help you need to get back in your home as soon as possible. It’s very realistic that there are people out there who are stranded without electricity or internet, without a way to ask for help. If you’re in an affected area please check up on your neighbours when you can.

In the coming days I’ll be finishing off an original drawing so I can auction it off for the benefit of the Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal. Stay high and dry people.
xoxo

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  • I think we are all so stunned and it’s going to take a long long time to clean up and rebuilt. People will be marked forever with these events. Like you, we were safe but I lived in New Farm before and even when you are not from Queensland (or Australia for that matter) you may have found a HOME here and we’ll all help to make everyone feel better again.. x

  • I’m so glad to hear that you and Nick are okay! I’m shocked by what’s going on though :(

    On a side note, your hair looks fabulous ;)

  • Another way of helping, especially for those outside Queensland is to plan a holiday here. There are some places, especially Cairns, Port Douglas, The Daintree and the Gold Coast that have not been affected by the floods and would love to welcome you and your tourist dollars to help bolster the state’s economy.