Friday 14 January 2011

.Guest blogging: From Sarah.

My summer had been meandering along at a nice relaxing pace. I was conscious of the incessant rain on the eastern coast of Australia that I was hearing about from family and friends, I knew it was inconvenient for many, for others it had been much worse. I hoped for a reprieve from those affected but was largely moving along with my life. Then Monday night, my increasingly growing pregnant belly had me awake in the early hours and as I switched on the news for the first time I really stopped and looked and listened and realised.

I watched a wall of water thrash its way down once peaceful country roads, destroying everything in its path. I saw frightened families clinging to their roofs as water inched ever closer, completely covering their homes. Cars, trucks, whole buildings, washed away. Lives destroyed so suddenly and without warning. The terror of Toowoomba, so aptly described as an inland Tsunami, brought a very visual realisation of the desperation of the situation all of Queensland was facing. And as the week’s events have continued to unfold, with the flooding of Brisbane and so many of its surrounding areas, I think all of Australia has held its breath, terrified at the mighty magnitude of this disaster.

The aftermath that is beginning to emerge has been likened to a war zone. Three quarters of the state, equivalent to the size of all of Germany and France combined, have been hit by floods. 118,000 residences have been left without electricity. 11,900 homes are completely flooded with a further 14,700 partially flooded, many of which will never be habitable again. Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia is shut down. Businesses are closed, infrastructure destroyed. The threat of disease and infections spreading as the water recedes is ever present.

And looking beyond all of these harsh facts are the very personal stories. For me it is a friend, desperately asking for prayers as he waits for news of his sister and her baby, trapped in their home in Toowoomba as the fierce waters rage around them. It is my sister-in-law trying to feed her family as roads to much needed supplies are cut off and water continues to creep closer to their door. My brother stocking up on anything he can find left at the store, unsure when he and his family will be able to access food again.

It is the story of parents, sacrificing their own lives to save their children. A boy who insists his younger brother be rescued first, only to be washed away before he has a chance to be saved himself. People desperately searching through the debris for their neighbours. And thousands of stories I don’t know, personal tragedies too numerous to count. I think the Premier described it best when she spoke of her experience flying over the affected areas.
“I could see hundreds of roofs yesterday and that’s all I could see was those rooftops... underneath every one of those roofs is a family, underneath every one of those roofs is a horror story.”

But beyond the horror is the heroism, as individuals step up in so many ways. While the recovery effort ahead is immense, and each of us may feel helpless in so many ways, there is always something, no matter how small it may seem, that each of us can do to help. The days and weeks and months ahead will reveal so much. I believe it will reveal far more than just the destruction left by such an incomprehensible disaster.
I believe it will reveal the true heart of Australia, the friends, the families, the neighbours and communities, all clinging together in whatever way they can, to walk proudly forward from this devastating tragedy.
All images found here.  
Follow the link below for a moving tribute gallery of the Queensland Flood Disaster.
Multimedia Interactive | Daily Telegraph

{Thank you for guest blogging today Sarah and sharing your thoughts - we're mindful that your state, Western Australia, is not free from it's own share of flood and fire woes. Tasmania is experiencing lots of rain and unprecedented flash flooding so I'm sure Toni's camping experience will be interesting. She will be back tomorrow. Get ready to bid - the master list will be up on Sunday night! Carli x.}


Chantal said...

Well written post Sarah. I have tears running down my face, again, a daily occurance this week!

Sonia said...

terrible, I hope and pray or everyone there. We here in Nashville went thru the same thing this spring.

Kylie said...

It is just so hard to believe and I am a Brisbanite at the moment - most of us are seeing the same coverage as you are. Wish that I could do more to help - but must stay here and look after my munchkins while my DH is out doing is job (ADF)

Unknown said...

I have been watching it all unfold, but I haven't shed many tears.... your post brought it all home and made me finally cry for the huge loss of my city. You said it so well. I just pray for all the families involved as we rebuild.

Gina said...

so sad, hard to believe this all is happening. my friend doesn't live very far from floods. again, am so glad, being MILES away I could be part of this! now holding an auction up on my blog - some lovely starfish necklaces. thank you for doing this!!

Naturally Carol said...

The personal tragedies are heartbreaking aren't they, but at least it is heartwarming that so many people are helping their neighbours and even strangers. It has been wonderful today to see neighbourhoods pulling together to start cleaning up and so many volunteers doing a great job. My brother is flying in from NZ on Saturday and before the school year starts he wants to volunteer a few days. I was in an area of Queensland that was flooded but safe...I am so proud that people in my family want to help too as so many families do. That's not to diminish the human tragedy of it at all.

Ruby Star said...

nice post sarah. you're right. the good part is that this will bring people together. their sence of community is right there on display. and i'm sure it will continue long after the journalists leave.

RG said...

Thankyou Sarah for writing this very heartfelt post.
So desciptive of all that has been unfolding here in our country.
Thoughts, prayers and hopefully much much practical help and support to our fellow country men and women.

Robyn xx

Cindy said...

I am one of the lucky ones. I live in one of those flood affected towns and have seen first hand some of the devastation and distress it has caused. I feel so lucky though, because for me I feel mostly sheltered from the worst of it. My house suffered very little. Our food supplies, though scarce, have continued. I have food storage, a 72hr kit and a knowledge of the gospel. These things help me not to feel the despair or panic others around me experience. I think the opportunities to reach out to others and the chance to serve is a great blessing of the floods. People's hearts are softened and open. Adversity can be a blessing, though an unpleasant experience to live through.

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