By Lucy Brook
When we first heard the Brisbane River would break its banks and flood thousands of homes and businesses, I felt a little like the passengers on the Titanic must have felt when told their “unsinkable” vessel was doomed.
“But this river can’t flood!” I spluttered in disbelief to my mother, a Brisbane lifer who was 19 in ’74, and spent those hot, heartbreaking weeks that followed scraping mud from people’s ceilings in St Lucia and comforting the inconsolable. Like so many Brisbanites, mum was certain the waters would never again reach such catastrophic levels. After all, Wivenhoe Dam built those assurances.
Never say never.
As we watched the churning, debris-filled murk infiltrate the city and the suburbs, our hearts broke for home and business owners. We scrambled to help neighbours and friends in low-lying pockets of Hawthorne, Bulimba and Norman Park. We ferried friend’s cars to safe ground in our dry garage, while family members arrived to cram food into our working freezer.
Disbelief gripped us as we watched pontoon after pontoon wrenched into the rapidly rising river. We kept in touch with friends in Jindalee and Bellbowrie. By 3pm on Wednesday, their homes had water lapping the upstairs verandahs, their leafy outlook replaced with a never-ending sea of brown.
After this morning’s peak, we sat glued to the news, mouths agape as images of inundated suburbs - Milton, Rosalie, Moorooka, Yeronga, South Brisbane and so many more - floated across our screen. The signs of restaurants we frequent barely poked above the water and streets we’d walked just days earlier are now entirely under water, along with so many people’s livelihoods.
We are beyond lucky to have emerged completely unscathed, but so many of our Brisbane comrades have not fared so well. If you can donate anything - even your lunch money - to the Premier’s Relief Fund, please, please do: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/
If you can’t, and want to lend a hand in other ways, join the hoards of incredible people willing to give their time and resources to help with what will be a monumental clean-up at http://www.emergencyvolunteering.com.au/
The site, part of Volunteering QLD, is experiencing massive traffic flow (never a bad thing), so please be patient. You can also phone 1800 994 100 to register as a volunteer.
For details on how to volunteer with The Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org.au/ourservices_acrossaustralia_disasteremergencyservices_Queensland-floods-2010.htm
The Salvation Army have set up additional shelters - for information on what you can donate or contribute, visit www.salvos.org.au.
Stay up to date with the disaster at the QLD Government website: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/
Luxy @ Girl With a Satchel
Posted by Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) at Thursday, January 13, 2011