Tuesday, January 18, 2011

After The Flood

Great! Our own internet is back again. Just when I was getting used to life without it....

The cleanup of Brisbane continues with many streets still looking like a war zones. The devastation to some areas is heart wrenching to look at. Today, we had some 'incidental rubbernecking' when we went to check on our microwave. The day before the floods, we took it to a shop to be fixed. Unfortunately, the first floor of that place was completely flooded to the ceiling and they have no idea if our microwave is amongst the saved items. No big deal....those people have lost so much more.

Anyway, the street that the shop was at was lined on both sides with the destroyed contents of all the shops in the area. There were excavators and dump trucks everywhere, moving back and forth to clear it all up.

I haven't gone to look at the news reports from the past week yet so I don't know if there is any mention of the thousands of people coming to the aid of total strangers during the cleanup. I mentioned that the devastation is heart wrenching but when you see the hoards of people lining up to volunteer for the cleanup, it is heart warming.

The council setup several volunteer sign up points throughout the city where people would go and then get bussed out to the areas that needed help. I think there were two shifts a day and over 12500 people showed up on the first day. The queue to sign up was over a kilometer long! People who owned bobcats, excavators, dump trucks and other equipment that help with the clean would just show up at areas and start working from dawn to dusk - at no cost. Other people who didn't sign up for the council volunteering effort either helped out in their neighborhood or made their own way to flood affected areas, walked into a damaged home and would just start working. There was no chatting or asking if help was needed, people came with their own equipment and just got working.

Each property that was damaged had to be cleared of all the contents of course. But, in addition to that, all the walls, carpets and fixtures were also ripped out. And then after that, we had to shovel, scrape, sweep and shoot out all the mud that was left behind. Needless to say, it was hard work and it was stinky!

Cleaning isn't the only way that people were helping out. The delivery of food and drinks was also clearly visible in many areas. One lady started Baked Relief and has been utilizing her blog, twitter and facebook to co-ordinate between hundreds of other ladies in Brisbane in baking and delivering food. Isn't that amazing?

People are good! Yes, there have been a few (very few) instances of looting, but overall, the people of Brisbane area good people!

Anyway, here are some more photos from some places around our house.

This is our street and the peak of the floods and then aftewards.

The house as the bottom of our street. Thats my brother at the end of the cleanup. It took just 4 hours for us to empty out everything from that ground floor, including the walls.

This is the convenience store that is a 2 minute walk from our house. It was an extremely successful little shop that was always full of people from the nearby commercial area. The water eventually reached the middle of their signboard. In the first photo, the shop is on the left. I didn't have photos from the same angle...

This is a photo of a different area that we happened to drive past.

I think what we all need to remember is that many people will continue to need help over the coming months, even when our streets are cleaned up and things look 'normal' on the surface.


Bilbo said...

I'm so glad to know that you and your family are all right and were only inconvenienced. It's amazing how quickly we can realize that we don't really need the internet, isn't it? People might actually ... gasp! ... write letters!

Mike said...

'internet is back'

This is the new 'losing electricity' for a couple of days and then getting it back.

And it sounds like a HUGH habitat for Brisbane project has been started.