Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Flood of Humanity Compounds Disaster

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Flood of Humanity Compounds Disaster

Article excerpt

IT may make sense to plan for the future, but the point is lost if it is done without consideration for the present.

During the past week we have witnessed nightly the impact of floodwaters across Queensland.

The images make for great television, and the compelling stories of an area under water the combined size of Germany and France make for stories that capture the imagination and have stunned observers across the globe.

Former Maroochydore rugby league player Bruce Sinclair, now plumbing inspector in Emerald, reminded me this week a true understanding of the devastation of flooding comes only once the waters recede.

The stench in that inland town, through which is routed national wealth bettered only by the Pilbara in Western Australia, is overpowering.

Residents are being issued with bags of lime to neutralise harmful bacteria that have spread everywhere as sewerage systems backed up. The risk of infection from bites of sand flies and mosquitoes now in plague proportions is high.

Devastated homeowners, many of whom don't draw the big bucks from mining jobs but who are the bricks and mortar that make the town function, retirees on fixed incomes among them, had just recovered from a similar though smaller flooding event in 2008.

Unable to find insurance since then, their personal losses from this much bigger flood can be seen piled in heaps on their front lawns.

Neighbours with their own concerns have pitched in to help each other. Walls and floors need to be repeatedly washed down with disinfectant to remove the stench and the threat of disease.

Not everyone was there to block toilets and drain pipes to stop the town's waste pouring back up and into their homes. Yet even that desperate precaution has provided little relief for most as the floodwaters searched out their level.

The Premier returned from annual leave, recalled her Cabinet, changed her C[pounds sterling]lookC[yen] and offered the services of government to assist the recovery.

She has spoken of how the disaster response has benefited from the C[pounds sterling]learningsC[yen] of Cyclone Larry, the marvel of SMS-ed flood warnings and how diligent people, herself included, had found a way to get supplies of pineapples south as well as disinfectant, food and clothing into flood-ravaged areas. …

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