As many of you web-savvy individuals know, Queensland is currently in the midst of the worst floods we’ve seen in a long time. Just prior to the rivers breaking their banks, as you could of probably told from my incessant tweeting about the weather, we had rain for the last two months going on for three. Beginning in Emerald, trailing down towards Rockhampton, and through Maryborough, Bundaberg, Toowoomba and then on to Brisbane, the flood waters quickly covered a distance of approximately 700 kilometers. A few days back, the area under water was as big as Germany and France combined (or three times the area of Texas, whichever you prefer). As I was overseas during the bulk of the watery drama, I failed to feel the pure magnitude of the tragedy, and luckily for our family, we reside in the South East corner of Queensland near the capital city, Brisbane. We aren’t suffering anything like the people in Central Queensland, where many towns, farms and mines are under water – although many of the inner-city suburbs close to the river have been completely submerged in silt and mud – and the city center itself has obtained a grimy patina of sludge and a slight smell of festering sewerage and sea-weed.
A few days previous to the Brisbane blooding, flash floods roared through the city of Toowoomba (a city in which my sister used to reside during her intern rotation), bringing the death toll from the ongoing floods to 20, with scores more still missing. One morning while breakfasting in Taiwan, the story, bleakly titled: Teenager Jordan Rice killed by floods slowly loaded on my phone’s microscopic screen. The story told of the bravery of a 13 year old boy, and his heroic act which led to his brothers life being saved over his. It is almost unimaginable the fear Jordan Rice would have felt as the car he and his family were in was pummeled by a literal wall of water, but in the end, the flood waters were far too strong and overcame the vehicle that he and his mother were in.
Our leaders have warned us to be prepared for more bad news as the water recedes and bodies are being uncovered in the sludge. Emergency workers fear as many as 30 bodies may be discovered among the flattened homes and mangled cars in one of the severely hit small Queensland towns, Grantham, which is still unreachable by road. But in spite of these horrible stories of death and destruction, Queenslanders have come to the front and have stood up for their soggy state. Cr Newman said there were 12,000 registered volunteers on Saturday and 10,300 on Sunday, more than 62,000 volunteers registered with Volunteering Queensland statewide and that the numbers of unregistered helpers triple or quadruple those amounts.
“The attitude and spirit is just fantastic, yesterday it was all races and creeds working side by side, it didn’t matter who they were, it was just fantastic.”
Even the debunked PM, Kevin Rudd (K-Rudd aka, the Ruddmeister), came out guns a-blazing – wading about his electorate, Griffith, in a solid pair of gumboots and shorts, only to have himself succumb to a foot infection from a flood-acquired injury. This of course set off ringing approval from Queenslanders state-wide and also managed to bring into the use of the hashtag’d term #floodzombie on Twitter. Now, what is a Flood Zombie, you may ask? Basically, as the clean up gets under way there is lots of advice on how to stay “clean” and not get a nasty infection from the dirty water. However, many people (Like Mister Rudd) are getting minor scrapes, cuts and blisters. The idea is, once you’re infected by the flood waters – that’s it, you’re gone, you are now a Flood Zombie and need your head cut off. This, of course, is just a mild example of the Australian humor surfacing to rear it’s ugly, not-so-funny-but-kinda-in-a-sad-way head. It is in no way related to Halo.
Twitter itself, like Facebook has worked overtime during this time of destruction. As outlined in John Birmingham’s (TWITTER) insightful article “Sandbags and hashtags: The floods as seen through Twitter” – events such the one quoted below are common form and truly highlight the importance of this media platform through this natural disaster:
Others needed real help. @Annieb25 tweeted on Sunday morning: West End desperately need dump trucks to move rotting food 36 Brougham St, Fairfield. Can anyone help?
After a quick retweet Cathoel Jorss replied at my Facebook page, “I’m sending my folks round with their 4WD”.
On a lighter note, this is the first time, for the life of me, that I have ever heard Queensland being referred to as “North East Australia”. I blame Wikipedia.
Queensland is in a state of disrepair, but as Queenslanders, we’re tough, we know what to do and how to get down to business. “Queenslanders across all affected areas can be proud of their unselfish and, at times, heroic response to adversity” If you’re overseas, or can’t get to particular sites to assist – here’s a are few websites you can look to to help out those in flood-damaged areas – and those who have been displaced, require food/amenities or who have lost families and homes. I have taken this list from the crafty people at Meet Me At Mikes:
Other ways to help : via the ABC
Donate items for hampers : look here
Donate to help flood-stricken pets : see here
Donate baked goods, for the bakers/cooks in Brisbane; Baked Relief – http://bakedrelief.org/