Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Brisbane relives the 1974 floods

I am speechless. Never have I seen Brisbane like this before. Having been born in 1980, I narrowly escaped the great 1974 floods that ravaged this city over 35 years ago. But now, I am witnessing first hand the effects of months and months of rain, Queensland's dams bursting at the seams. 10 people dead, 78 missing - so far. The Brisbane River is expected to peak in the next 48 hours, the radio and TV broadcasters constantly reminding us that we "haven't seen the worst yet". They say that 75% of the state of Queensland has been affected by these floods. Children being swept away, houses inundated, precious belongings lost to the tides. Surreal. Devastating.

Sticky Baby and I got caught in a 'sticky' situation this morning. The neighbourhood we are currently in is on high ground - no danger alerts whatsoever - nothing. I decided to pop down to the shops, to give the sticky one an outing, grab some milk, perhaps a take-away coffee. An hour later, I had Papadada screaming at me through the iphone, demanding WHY I was there when that specific area was being EVACUATED. Whhhhaaat???!?!

Making my way back to the car, I drove out towards the main road that would take me home. Gridlock traffic. Both ways. Sirens. Curtains of rain. Fire and Rescue vehicles transporting BOATS on their roof racks. A mild panic set in, as I scanned the area, taking mental notes of which roofs, if any, I would climb on if the need arose. A little extreme, you may say, but just the night before, in Toowoomba (a city less than 2 hours away), what the authorities described as an 'Inland Tsunami' swept mothers and children in their cars away. And here I was, in a car, with my baby....

The bridge up ahead was now underwater, cars being turned away. I made the decision to pull the car over, in a car park that seemed relatively 'high', and wait for the rain to subside. We were ok, I had a sippy cup full of water, a box of sultanas, a functioning radio and a fully charged phone.

Before long, a tap at the window - MY FATHER IN LAW! As big and bold as David Hasselhoff, he came to rescue us! Thank you Gary. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. Back at his office, having left my car where it was and taken his powerful 4x4 instead, we awaited the arrival of Papadada, and within four hours of the whole debacle starting, we were home, safe and sound. My mother in law, anxiety levels at an all-time high, had baked a quiche and ironed an entire basket-load of clothes, just to take the edge off!

Other people will not be so lucky. My thoughts and prayers go out to those people with family members still missing, houses being destroyed by the slow-creeping giant that is our water system, businesses going under - literally. Cities around Brisbane have been hit so hard. Grantham, Toowoomba, Caboolture, Ipswich. And of course, North Queensland, who lived through this chaos just last week.

Wednesday and Thursday are supposed to bring more disaster, more inches of rain, more rising tides, and no power. We are so fortunate to be in 'high' neighbourhoods. My heroic father in law also has a generator at hand, which will be a huge help if we lose power like we did late this afternoon. My parents and sister are also dry and safe. Thank God.

I will be saying my prayers tonight. Prayers of gratitude for my family's safety, prayers of mercy for those at risk.

Will keep you all posted.


michaela said...

Wild bush fires to the West, massive floods to the East. Truly our hopes and prayers are with these people.

Natalie said...

Oh no! Saying a big prayer for everyone over there! I am so thankful you got home safely.

Brooke Hall said...

Lise!!!!!!!! Okay, just sent you fb message before reading this....so so so scary! I ams so thankful that you and Remy are safe and sound...... Praying for all your families and please do keep us updated.

Erin said...

Oh my that sounds so scary. Literally my heart was pounding as I was readin this. So glad you all are safe and my prayers are with you all!

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