Our street was cut off by flood water at both ends and we ended up a small island of about 20 houses, a mini-community of families all looking out for each other as the waters rose around us. Scary stuff. Our house was thankfully spared but our little hamlet of Bellbowrie was devastated, including the entire street below ours which was under water when we woke up Wednesday morning, and our only local shops which were roof deep in water and are already being razed to the ground. All this in the middle of suburbia.
We had to deal with the very real fear of the bottom floor of house going under as muddy flood water inched up our street. With rationing food with three little kids (my husband and I ate not much but bread crusts cut from the kids’ sandwiches for the past few days!). With no air-con on some pretty hot and humid days. With only a battery operated radio to give us any information. With ever decreasing bars on our mobile phones. This picture is of the water creeping around the end of our street. Taken from the bottom of my driveway. It has already submerged about 30 homes before reaching this point.
But that’s pittance compared with so many of those around us who have lost so much. Their homes, their possessions, their pets, their family members…
This picture is from a house about five down from mine. I took a walk past yesterday, and soon became choked up over the kind of debris these poor people were tossing from their homes – furniture, kitchen cupboards, wall plaster. In this one pile was a brand new teddy bear and a ruined Christmas tree. I’ve managed to keep tears at bay through most of this but that just broke my heart. In comparison we went through nothing at all.
Now the water has receded and we are no longer trapped, our small area has been inundated with volunteers in gumboots and gloves and brooms wanting to help anyway they can. With professional clean-up crews going from home to home and pitching in for nothing. With pre-teen kids setting up free drink stalls on street corners. With local schools setting up barbeques as hundreds of people donated their defrosted meat and bread to give those without homes fabulous Aussie summer BBQs. With local doctors manning booths for nothing to look after anyone who needed them. We’ve had people stop us in the street and force boxes of nappies on us when they’ve found we had kids.
The past few days, while intense and at times really scary, have been amazing. Enlightening. Uplifting. I am so proud to be a part of the Bellbowrie community, to be a Queenslander, and so proud of all those in the media and in government and in basic services who’ve worked tirelessly in the hopes of making a national disaster survival. It’s darned good to be Australian.
If any of you would like to make a donation to directly help those whose homes have been flooded, go to: