An aerial view of Emerald on December 31, 2010
To view more flood pics, click here.
Now that the flood waters have started to recede, the cleanup begins. Where there once was a few feet of water, now lies mud & dead fish. The stench is horrible. Worse then the cleanup and the smell is the absolute devastation that some families now face. Some people weren't prepared and there were a lot of people that were out of town for the holidays that couldn't prepare at all. There are some families that have lost everything. The sadness of this is nearly overwhelming. It was impossible to predict exactly where the water would go and how bad it would get. Overall, 80% of our town was covered by water. The flood waters covered a portion of Queensland equivalent to an area the size of Germany & France put together.
Michael and I were some of the lucky ones to be spared by the ravaging flood waters. The water made it as far as lapping at the sand bags at our front door. I was finally able to walk down the street to our house, a task that was impossible just yesterday. The only signs of the flood outside of our house is the mud in the grass and driveway. Inside of our house is a mess of a different kind. When you only have a day to prepare for a flood, you do whatever you can to raise your possessions as high off the floor as possible. In our case, we even moved some of our furniture out to higher ground. When the waters recede, the clean up begins.....however our cleanup involves putting our house back together again.
Our kitchen table raised and stacked high
Tomorrow I will go to a friend's house that didn't have the same luck as us. They live across the street from the river and probably got a few feet of water into their newly raised home. Surprisingly enough, they still have a great attitude about cleaning and rebuilding. After all, they are expecting a new baby later this month. Some things that I have learned about the Australian people from this unfortunate event is that they have an incredible perseverance of character and an unlimited willingness to help out other people in need. It is amazing to see the generosity of people's time and resources during a catastrophe like this. It seems as if the flood has brought this small community closer together. I have to say, It feels good to be apart of such a community.
Some irony I've found along the way:
- Proof of our once water front home: see the dead silver fish in the above picture.
- There was vacancy at the Overflow Motor-Inn during the flood. Could it be because it was only accessible by water?
- There are so many helicopters flying around including a blackhawk helicopter, our town sounds like a military zone. I guess that happens when we are only accessible by the air. Many roads have been washed away by the water.
- There are storms on the horizon. We are only half way into the rainy season.
- The next town down stream to be hit by the flood water was Rockhampton. Last night they featured the movie Waterworld. Was this a strange coincidence or poor taste in pre-programming?
- And finally, I watched as much of the movie as I could but couldn't stay up to finish it. When I got into bed the clock read 11:11pm. I finished the first day of 1/1/11 at 11:11pm. Happy New Year 2011!