Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Queensland Floods


The floods took a turn for the worse with the horrific flash flooding at Toowoomba yesterday which has caused loss of life, untold damage  and trauma for all who were there. The country suffered with them last night. The images were disturbing . Floods are insidious and destructive. The flash flooding meant a lot of people were caught unaware by the power and ferocity .The fact anyone coped is a tribute to the Queenslanders who are doing it so hard at the moment. Roads are damaged and cut off, airports cannot function, people are in evacuation centres, cars are under water. The police are trying to get the safety first message across because some people are driving in flood waters and then it doesn't end well. Some people are walking in flood waters and it's not good. Safety first means the rescue resources can be better deployed. Why don't some people pay attention? We are not used to this. We are used to doing things and getting places and we are not brought up to manage  really tough situations so we probably think we can just keep doing things. Just drive through those waters. Just wade to the oval. I am not sure what is going through people's heads, but the  safety first has to come first. Then there will be the panic created by a torrential onslaught of water and most people would be unaware of the pressure water can exert. Water is heavy and if it is in motion it is an unstoppable force of great power.

We are watching and listening as this water spreads and takes hold of more and more roads and towns. The area must be even huger by now. The infrastructure rebuild costs are going to be massive. This is all colossal. Our thoughts are with all these people and the state of Queensland. We are wondering how they will be able to live in all that water because it will be there for quite a while yet. With Cyclone Tracey in Darwin, they evacuated people around  Australia until they could go back and rebuild. Are the people in Queensland safe? There seems to be an incredibly strong spirit but if they need respite to keep going we need to consider that.

We are going to have to have an awesome task force put together to get this one managed and repaired. Major General Mick Slater will need some good heads on his side. The thought that we have to come up with a plan to help all these people and then try and prevent that kind of disaster again is going to require solid, expert thought and maybe it would be a good use of some retired agriculturalists, engineers and communication experts for starters. The people who are working on resolution will have to have time and brains.

There are stories of people rowing their boats down the Main North Road here in 1964. Apparently Elizabeth was massively flooded. In the end they built  a huge storm water drain system and the town has never flooded since. The sorts of drainage needed for the floods in Queensland would have to be bigger than we can imagine and levees may help but they would have to be huge too. Biodiversity experts will need to be included. This is such a complicated challenge and getting it right will mean we can go on. Not getting it right means this will be repeated. It is so tough to have to manage crisis and resolution at the same time.






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