Greater Than the Sum of Our Parts

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coming to you live and somewhat soggy

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So as you may have heard, we’ve had some rather serious floods down here in my little corner of the world. I’m fortunate enough to be high and dry, despite being uncomfortably close to Cash’s Crossing when it broke it’s banks, and aside from a few problems with landslides and falling trees there’s been no major property damage.

I realise it’s rather late in the game, but if you know someone in the greater Brisbane area who has been evacuated and can’t take their animals with them, get them in touch with me; we don’t have room for more people, but my neighbours and I are taking pets, and if they’re not in my location I know at least three other people who’ve opened their house to the same purpose. I’m not sure about other evacuation centres, but the RNA Showgrounds are not allowing non-service animals. I can take any cat, dog, bird, or fish on a little notice, and I can take livestock up to the size of a horse if you give me warning and BYO electrical or panel fencing (all our land has is dogwire on stakes, I’m afraid.)

Donations are very much appreciated, and the best place to send them is directly to the official relief effort; the money goes directly to the State Emergency Services, the evacuation centres, the sandbag stations, and (if there’s any left over when the water draws back) to the cleanup/rebuild as required. If you’re located in Australia and can get to an affected region without taking a plane or the Bruce Highway, Volunteering QLD is coordinating volunteer assistance; registering with them first is greatly preferred to just showing up, as they have up-to-the-minute information on where help is needed most. Everything helps, and I do mean everything; I’ve been doing any little job from delivering medicine to filling sandbags on their account, and with a little luck my friends/colleagues and I will have a functional crisis counselling service set up at one of the evacuation centres by tomorrow or the weekend. While the actual efficacy of counselling immediately after a crisis is debateable, it makes people feel better, and since I don’t have the skills required to fix a car or rebuild a house this is pretty much the best I can do.

So far, things have been pretty bad for my state. We had no warning about the flash floods that came down from the Range, and the confirmed death toll is now at 15 and expected to rise. Crocodiles and sharks have been washed up in odd places, and I can personally attest to the vast numbers of very venemous snakes who have fled the waters and taken shelter in my roof. We’ve gone from BrisVegas to BrisVenice quite literally overnight. But as much as I might bitch and moan about my state and its people and its politics, we’re really rather good at pulling together in a crisis. (Please disregard Tony Abbott. If someone could just make him sit down and be quiet until the crisis was averted, that would be lovely…)

Now, my fellow flood victims, some advice the SES have passed along that everyone should hear.

Cleaning Up After A Flood, Step 1: Wait.

No, longer than that.

No, longer than that…

Seriously, keep waiting. Neither Brisbane nor Ipswich nor Toowoomba nor any part of the Lockyer Valley has been declared safe to re-enter. The flood waters are receeding in places, but there’s still a king tide to deal with, and a strong chance that they will rise again this weekend or next week. It is very easy for people to get hurt or killed by returning to their property too early, and if you think cleaning up after a flood is no fun, wait until you’ve cleaned up after a flood twice in under a week. When the SES and Energex declare the all-clear and return power, then you can get started. In the mean time, stay high and dry, try to score some decent clothes and sheets out of the donation pile, and keep waiting.

Here’s hoping we can all stay safe and dry for the rest of the wet season.

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Written by Amelia &/or Delilah

January 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

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