Last night I was cheered by news that people from throughout Australia and even other countries are willing to assist in the massive clean-up after the floods. The true Aussie spirit shines throughout this tragedy with the usual sentiments along the lines of “Ya just gotta get on with it mate, and do your best. There’s always someone worse off.”
I heard in the news overnight that many home-owners were shocked to discover too late, that their insurance did not cover flood damage. One such owner will have to destroy his house once the waters recede and start all over again.
“I still feel relieved and grateful for people who helped me,” one man said on television, his voice breaking as he considered the friends, neighbours and even strangers who reached out a helping hand.
Fortunately for thousands in the State capital, the Brisbane River peaked 1m lower than expected which means that most were less affected than they could have been, though there are many homes that will probably have to be completely knocked down.
Construction of the Wivenhoe Dam near Brisbane about 30 years ago was a major contributor to reducing the flood levels. Apparently without the dam, the Bremmer River in Ipswich and the Brisbane River would likely have been 2m higher than they were, though not all scientists and engineers agree that dams are the best solution for flood mitigation.
The clean-up will continue for many months after the floods have receded. For some people, the damage will take many years to rectify, and for others, they will have to start all over again with little more than the clothes on their backs.
One woman spoke about a massive wave that swept through the area, up to the ceiling in her home. It smashed through her parents home just down from her, taking the kitchen wall with it, and sweeping the woman's parents downstream. Later, her parents were found to have perished. Two other family members survived by climbing into the ceiling through a manhole.
In the long-term, the reconstruction costs will be massive and I was so grateful to hear that people throughout the world are giving financial assistance as well. I'm sure there are many that are praying for our recovery.
Around 27,000 homes and 5,000 businesses have been affected by the floods in Queensland and with 15 confirmed dead and around 61 still missing, there are still daunting days ahead.
Several food suppliers in Brisbane have been badly affected by the floods, but many fork-lift workers and truck drivers have offered to work extra hours to get food to areas that are running short.
Other great news is that producers from other states are putting mass truckloads of food together and sending it to Queensland, even driving through hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads to supply the harder hit areas, which are unable to be reached via the highways due to the flooding.
While the devastation and grief even caused the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh to break down during an interview, I think her statement tells us a lot about our Aussie spirit as well, "...Remember who we are ... we are Queenslanders."
Prime Minister Julia Gilliard said, that her heart was broken by the devastation but warmed by the resilience of the people.