… thank goodness and my heart goes out to all affected.
[Note: I apologize for not posting earlier, I know friends and family have been anxious to hear from me. Unfortunately we were trapped without power so there was no way to post!]
I have been staying with 2 Canadians I met at St. Leo’s, the college on campus I was initially staying at. It was a good idea because the area all around the college became flooded and campus is now closed until at least next Thursday. On Wednesday, the power in their neightbourhood was cut and everyone waited with bated as Thursday, the projected flood peak, came and went. Fortunately, the water levels did not rise high enough to reach their home and we were safe. One block away, however, the water had risen to levels above my head.
The flood has been devastating for numerous neighbourhoods, leaving many families with destroyed homes and immeasurable damages and losses.
The water quickly receded after Thursday and the city is mostly dry as of today. Buses have begun to run and stores have slowly been reopening as everyone works to battle the aftereffects of the flood. As I took a bus into Toowong (a nearby suburb), we drove through streets that had been completely submerged under water. It was heartbreaking. The flood left behind foul sludge over everything it touched and the amount of damaged belongings was unbelievable. I watched in disbelief as people hauled out years of memories from their homes and threw them on the curb to be taken to a landfill. How do you accept and deal with such a disaster? How will you be able to rebuild your lives after you’ve lost everything? How long will it take to have your house clean and in livable conditions? How can people cope so well while facing so much?
What was amazing to see, was the collective hearts of Brisbaners. Tons of people came out to help neighbours, friends, family, even complete strangers, with the filthy task of cleaning up after the flood. Many got down and dirty to help clean up, others provided food, still others provided their services (ie. occupational therapy).
On the corner of my friends’ street (about a block away from their home), there is an Asian-owned convenience/grocery store that carried everything you could possibly need. A few hours before the flood reached, I had stopped by to buy a phonecard. They were still dutifully servicing customers while restaurants across the street had already closed due to the impending flood. The flood did not spare them any mercy, and flooded everything in the store. Once the water receded, tons of people came to help them clean out their store. Happily talking through the filthy mud and nasty stench while working away from morning until night. And this happened all over the city, it was a sight to behold. This was my first time experiencing a natural disaster and to be able to see people from all backgrounds come together to help one another get through this grief was very inspiring.
I loved this city almost immediately after I arrived, and now I like it even more. Like many have said, it can only go uphill from here… 🙂
My classes were supposed to start this past Friday, but are now postponed until next Friday at the earliest.
A few pictures relating to the flood. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera around town today so I don’t have pictures to show what afflicted neighbourhoods look like. I will try and get some pictures tomorrow.
Note: There are captions at the bottom of some of the pictures, please read them!
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES