Posted by: jkirkby8712 | January 13, 2011

Wednesday, 12th January 2011 – deadly wave of water heads for the capital

At around 1.20pm today, there were still 67 people unaccounted for in the Queensland floods. The official death toll was now twelve. That figure was likely to rise considerably over the next day or so, as the search and rescue teams begin to move into the areas that were utterly devastated by the tsunami style flood surge that went a number of towns on Monday afternoon – only able to do so once the water started to recede. Already, cars which hasd been caught up in the flood surge, were being found two kilometres, some up in the trees, houses, which were swept off their stumps, if still intact, as much as 500 metres from where they started. What hope would people have in those conditions if caught in the waters!

It’s ironical, that today in Brisbane, as the 3rd largest city in Australia, slowly went under water, that the sun was shining – down here in Victoria, we were having periods of sudden rain storms, and in fact, in some parfts of this state today, floods also became a concern, though nothing to compare with what is happening in southeast Queensland. I read somewhere today, that the area in Queensland affected by these floods, was equivalent to the size of Germany and France in land mass!! I guess that gives non-Australian readers, some idea of the size of the Australian continent, as we are only talking about a third of one of the Australian states. Meanwhile, as the Queensland Premier, Anna Blyth  [who inadvertently is probably, by accident, not doing her re-election chances any harm by her confident performance as the ‘one’ in charge over recent days] noted, the search and rescue teams are expected to face a “gruesome day”, as they move out into the worst hit flood zones today,  and  many families were expected to face heartbreak as more bodies were expected to be discovered. She said that “The one good news is the rain has cleared, so we’ve now got a number of search and rescue teams all ready to deploy into that valley to really start what might be a very gruesome search this morning for bodies and our police and emergency workers there are going to have a very tough day today.”

When I got home this afternoon, I grabbed a brief window of opportunity inbetween rain showers, to go for a walk. Ground which two weeks ago, was finally starting to dry out after the December rains down here,  was once again soggy and muddy under foot, but I was certainly glad that we were not getting the same levels of rain that Queensland has been facing. I returned home to see the full horror on the TV of what was happening up north. This morning’s paper had warned us that ‘The nation confronts it’s worst flood disaster in living memory, with 30 people believed dead and 78 missing in southeast Queensland, as the wall of water bearing down on Brisbane threatens to engulf thousands of homes [and businesses] and put more people at risk’. Well the TV pictures tonight, showed very clearly that Brisbane had become a disaster zone – the Central Business District of Brisbane [where I was wandering around a few weeks ago] was basically underwater, as were up to 20,000 homes already  – with the flood peak expected at 4am tomorrow morning. I must admit that I found it hard to comprehend the volume of water that was required to turn such a large portion of Queensland’s capital city into a huge lake – with skyscrapers and other large buildings surrounded by water, and in many cases commercial buildings and homes almost submerged in many areas –  how could this happen, in a country where drought has been such a dramatic concern for so many years, and now  there is just so much water – a city in an ocean. In Brisbane, the  CBD tonight is closed, it should be deserted but there are obviouisly still people who have remained [unwisely] in high rise buildings, despite being advised to get out. Many of the surrounding inner suburbs are under water, power has been turned off in most of those areas, so I would imagine that there will be a very worrying night ahead for thousands of the city’s residents. My Uncle Merv and his wife, who I visited whilst in Brisbane last October, live in one of the inner suburban areas – I contacted him today, but they were quite safe, on higher ground –  couldn’t really go very far, but as Merv noted, they were far better off than thousands of others.

Ironically, there are also floods happening in northern New South Wales [much of it a flow on of the Queensland waters] where heavy rains have also occurred, and even here in Victoria, there have been some areas in the west of the state that have been affected by floods today. I guess you could say that the weather is going crazy in Australia at the moment – even flood warnings have been issued in central Australia near Alice Springs where storms and flash floods have caused some concern. Off the north west coast of Western Australia, cyclones are suddenly a threat, while down in the south west of the continent, near Perth, we had losses from bush fires!!!

 Had a couple of conversations with, initially, my brother-in-law up in Brisbane earlier this evening, and later in the night, with my sister, Jill [the couple I spent a week with in October last]. They confirmed that their part of the city, as I’d expected, was quite safe and secure, high enough ground not to be worried byfloods,but obviously, access to the city andother areas was limited.  Our conversastion wasn’t limited to just the floods however – some concern over the current whereabouts of younger brother, Ian, who seems to have ‘disappeared’ from contact with the family. That matter to be followed up over the next few days. Meanwhile, more study ahead for two of my ‘children’  – Susie, who has just completed her Science degree has decided to do an extra year in order to gain a teaching qualification at the socondary school level, while eldest son James has decided [somewhat unwisely in many ways] to leave his fulltime job, and undertakes two years of university study in order to gain a teaching qualification also, this time at the primary school level. One thing about James, in that respect, he has always been very good at interacting with younger children, so in some ways, his decision is not so surprising.  Susan’s decision suggests that she will be with me for at least another year!

 

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