Friday, January 14, 2011

Flood update

I am showing no pictures in this post. I find it too distressing to photograph some of the things I am seeing, even in my own neighbourhood, at the moment.

Firstly, I was extremely lucky. Events like this are so random that it makes your head spin. We had minor inconveniences - losing the cable internet connection was about the most serious thing that we had to put up with. I had to move my 81 year-old mother to my sisters because she has had no power for three days and it could be several more days before it is reconnected. I helped some people in the lower levels of my apartment complex move furniture to higher ground in case we succumbed to the water, but it turned out to be unnecessary. We moved it all back today.

Last night we had some locals who were without power here for dinner, because we have been able to keep our food refrigerated and cook it. One local couple had house-guests from Sweden, so they came too. They were rather wide-eyed at what was happening, and they had their own flood story because they had been visiting friends in Goondiwindi and to get back to Brisbane to catch their flight out today, they had to drive from Goondiwindi to Newcastle and fly up from there!

My hosts from my recent trip to NZ emailed me to tell me that a relative of theirs was without power in a building across the road from my place, so we transferred her refrigerator contents to our place even though we had never met her before.

I went for a walk in my own neighbourhood today, and it was very sobering. Within a couple of hundred metres, houses are throwing their entire contents out onto the street. House after house had furniture, white goods, carpeting and foodstuffs piled on the footpath, and were cleaning their houses out with high-pressure hoses.

The local shopping centre is still closed, and the basement car park is full of water - right to the very top. All the shops - Coles, newsagent, banks, doctor's surgery, post office, fruit shop etc etc - will have to be cleaned and renovated. There is no stock in the supermarket, fruit shop or bakery. Streets are still barricaded off. Even where the water has receded, there is inches of filthy, foul-smelling sludge that will have to be shovelled off and disposed of.

The nearby place where my mother lives is a unit block housing about 30 war widows. It is owned by the War Widows Guild and provides cheap and secure accommodation for them. They are all around my mother's age, and they have no power, which means no lights at night and no hot water. They cannot watch their TVs or heat their food. They have all had to throw their perishables out, and the local shops cannot resupply. They will not have power back anytime soon.

All the ferry terminals around here have been trashed by the water, and the City Council says that the whole network will have to be rebuilt before the service can run again. Bus services have been cancelled too.

The sole purpose of recounting all of this is to ask each of you to think carefully about whether or not you could make a donation to one of the appeals for the flood victims that I have described here. Not for me personally - I have been extremely fortunate - but for the elderly, the infirm, the young families and the small business owners who have lost everything. Literally everything.

This is a really dire situation for many fellow Australians from all walks of life, in all age groups.

They all need your help. Please support them where you can.

Thanks for taking the time to read this plea.



  1. Hi Trevor. Good on you! It's been one heck of a week, hasn't it? I hope the power has come back on to the war widows' place.

    I hope you took pictures in the end. It needs to be recorded so that people remember.

  2. Hi Cara
    Still haven't felt like taking any photos.
    War widows have power again, thank goodness!
    Best wishes with your place.


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