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 ;) )