Wednesday, January 05, 2011


Photo: Jennifer Eurell

The trouble with floods is they creep up and destroy by stealth. For some , our floods do not rate on the disastometer because there are not enough deaths. I wonder where these heads are at but I guess each country has its own unique way of being and we know what a colossal disaster these floods are for these people .10 deaths is more than enough and we know that is  really serious. Bit sad when you have to have a competition like that for anyone to realise your country is in trouble.
It reminds me of the Victorian saying:

It is not the person knocking at the door you should be worrying about - it is the serpent which slithers under it.

We have serpents all right now in Queensland. They are in the flood waters and they are venimous. Something else for the locals to contend with. There are winemakers and their workers in boats desperately trying to harvest what they have grown  and their next crop due in will be lost. The farmers are losing everything. The mines are flooded and that pollution will be seeping into the water and sewage is seeping into the water. Floods are insidious.

All credit to the Army, the Premier and the Prime Minister for being quick off the mark and just getting in there. The army and air force have worked relentlessly. There are aid agencies like the Red Cross and St Vincent de Paul who have been working tirelessly since before Christmas. Then there is the ABC news which has given us excellent coverage with solid information. All those people ,and the people who have been damaged by this and will continue to suffer from this massive flood ,have not had Christmas or New Year. They have worked on and on and on . The police haven't stopped and if nothing else we can see that we are managing the enormity of this one step at a time and it will, in the end, come right. We cannot change our attitude nor our willingness to help. Some of us in safer areas want to know if there is anything else we can do besides give money? We do not like sitting watching. We'd be up there helping but we know anything like that has to be meticulously managed in a situation like this. We are watching people who have rebuilt their flood damaged houses last year looking at losing all their stuff again this year. Our hearts go out to them and we want to help. Once, yes, bad luck, I guess...but twice in less than a year? And our farmers?

This is costing billions of dollars in damage and lost revenue. Billions. But you cannot put a price on someone rebuilding after they already did that or replacing what has been lost again. So there are going to be infrastructure costs once people who know what they are talking about can think of ways of protecting an area as big as NSW. That's a pretty big ask of any country. Floods creep and creep and creep in a sinister way.

The good news is people have taken to Twitter and it will be the best place for brainstorming and bringing out ideas. We are going to have to be creative problem solvers and the fact people have taken to Twitter to get information and ideas out is a good thing. We are thinking flexibly. Twitter has been one of the best ways of keeping people fully informed. Today Rockhampton is bracing itself and then it will be St. George which had considerable flood damage last year. We are, if nothing, inventive in our approach and our practical nature is standing us in good stead. That is how we count the cost.

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