Update from the Queen of Disaster

bundy flood 2013

Well, halloo everyone!

It has been a very strange start to the year my friends!

Apologies for being so quiet in the blogosphere – I could be shell shocked or sumthin’ 😉

As many of you know, the town closest to where we live – Bundaberg – has recently had the worst flood in the cities history. This says a lot because Bundaberg got badly flooded only a couple of years ago. This 2013 flood was about 2 metres higher than the 2011 flood.

But on top of all that – Bundaberg was flooded again last week! Only a moderate river flood, but enough to create a huge inland sea through the low lying areas of town. It was very nerve wracking for those who had lost everything in the January flood. Bundabergians were greatly relieved when the river stopped rising and the sun finally came out.

The natural reaction is to say ‘how unfair’ but the weather doesn’t work on an artificial system involving scales of justice. I wish it did.

You might think Bundaberg gets flooded all the time, but you would be wrong. The floods in the past 2 years are not the usual ‘big wet’ scenario for this town in the sub-tropics.

This flood came quickly and was deadly. Suddenly the river broke it’s banks on the North side of town and people had a very short time to evacuate. There were warnings on the television and radio to evacuate immediately or you could die. The strength of the river was such that whole houses could be lifted off their stumps.

Many people refused to leave. The evacuation was upgraded to compulsory as the river waters increased in height and speed. This resulted in a 24hour mad rush by emergency services personnel to evacuate about 2000 people from roof tops via army helicopters. The evacuation was conducted with amazing efficiency and affectiveness.

People were transported to a school in North Bundaberg where an evacuation centre was hastily constructed. The river continued to rise. The evacuees were again evacuated by helicopter to another evacuation centre on the south side of the river.

We live a couple of kilometres north of the first evacuation centre and weren’t sure if the flood waters would reach us. It was pretty scary but in the end we were safe. Isolated for about 5 days with no access to shops, but safe. We didn’t get flooded and we didn’t have to evacuate.

What this meant was that nearly all the houses in North Bundaberg were completely submerged by flood waters, and the whole place was empty!

When the roads were safe to traverse, I ventured out and drove to the nearest petrol station and corner shop that were open. I passed the local school, which had served as an evacuation centre. There were cars and trucks parked all over the footpaths – temporarily abandoned as the owners had been whisked away by helicopter.

It was very sad – I was overwhelmed by emotion – what had happened to Bundaberg! What had happened to all the pets and livestock who had resided in North Bundaberg.

There was a house on the road!

There was a boat on a footpath!

There were missing roads!

The bridge had a whole the size of a two storey house in the middle of it!

The tragic side of the story is that many people would have saved their pets if they had just heeded the evacuation order given in the first instance. They could have left on their own accord via car or truck. It is almost impossible to evacuate dogs, cats and birds via helicopter.

But it all happened so fast and who could believe that the river could be so deadly. Many river floods are slow with little current. This one was the opposite. One person was killed in Bundaberg (thank goodness it wasn’t more) but literally hundreds, if not thousands of animals were washed down the Burnett, drowning in the torrid brown waters of an angry river.

On top of the floods, there were also 6 mini-tornadoes. The seaside town of Bargara (half an hour from us) was hit, as was Burrum Heads, Burnett Heads and some suburbs in Bundaberg. Scary stuff again – my kids were petrified that we would be hit by a tornado (we did cop some horrific winds at 4am one morning but no damage).

So that is what has been happening.

If we get any more disasters I will start to believe I am cursed 😉 (but that is a story for another day).

Things are finally starting to settle down (after a number of missed school days) and it is already March. Holy Dooley.

Stay tuned and I will soon tell you about my new ducks, ducklings, silkie rooster (Edgar Allen Poe) and the horse Clancy that bit me ;).


Note: Bundaberg is having a Mud, Sweat and Tears concert to support the flood effort.

Line up includes GANGgajang 🙂 More info can be found here.


nuddanote: flood photo taken from google images (my helicopter is getting serviced 😉 )

15 thoughts on “Update from the Queen of Disaster

Add yours

    1. thanks Charles – I think the wet weather has finally broken up (3 months of it is enough for anyone) – I don’t know how these people cope with repeated flooding – some had just finished the work on the previous damage.

    1. Unfortunately many insurance companies in Australia refuse to insure for flood, so many people will not be covered – the Government gives some funds and Australians all donate funds – but not enough usually to cover the damage. Bundaberg is a very poor place – one of the lowest income places in Australia – many of the families would have been renting and now there is a large demand for rentals and people searching for places to live – some will probably leave town altogether, others will just keep on keeping on.

    1. Yup, and this is one hell of a flat place Rog – lucky I did a search of flood maps before we moved here (I must thank my geography teacher for her topography lessons 😉 ) so our place was out of the reach of flood waters (though we nearly did get a bit flooded by the flash flooding – which is different to the river flooding – you never know for sure – we once had a house on a hill which ended up getting flood waters running through the place – never would have believed it!)

  1. How dreadful! Glad you escaped, but desperately sorry for all those whose homes and lives have been devastated. So sad about the pets – why do people have to be so pig-headed?

    1. I think a lot of people really believe it is not going to happen to them – it’s really weird isn’t it! Lot’s of Aussies don’t like being told what to do as well – so when an SES person knocks on their door telling them to evacuate, they get their backs up and yes, are pig-headed – and in the end it was just so dam scary when the full force of the river was on it’s way, that they all panicked and left, sometimes without their pets.

  2. Nature sounds so fierce in Australia! Must explain why Australians are so brave. Glad that you and your family are all okay! Prayers for those whose homes were lost! God speed to them all in their recoveries!

    1. I was just thinking about that the other day Aletha – that I always seem to be blogging some disaster around here and that you guys in the States and Canada must think it is always like this – hahaha – I promise it is not always like this. Thanks for your prayers Aletha 🙂 I’m putting in a word with the new Pope to see if he can put in a word to She who is all powerful in the skies 😉

  3. Poor animals. Quite unbelievable how the region copped it, Gabe – a perfect storm of events. Glad you and the family escaped unscathed (physically, at least) – but rather an unnerving welcome to the area! A climate scientist said on the radio the other day that these sorts of events are not uncommon but the frequency with which they are occurring is, so we can expect many more of them each season. You chose your property on higher ground wisely.

    1. it was a perfect storm of events bb and climate change is making itself felt, that is for sure – people are incredibly resistant to the idea that the world is not as it has been – I understand the reluctance but gees, get over it and move on or we are all going to get very hot, and not in a good way – I live in the sub tropics and have no wish to live in the fk tropics! I put a lot of thought into where we live, but most of my thought was about tsunamis and cylones – I still had a good look at the flood maps though (disaster queen in action – haha)!

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