Tuesday, January 11, 2011

queensland crisis

The floods in Queensland, Australia have been described as a disaster on a biblical scale.

Beginning in the northern tropics and devastating many country and coastal communities, the flood devastated area now covers that equivalent to the size of New South Wales - and it seems to be growing.

Yesterday, the inland city of Toowoomba, which sits atop the Great Dividing Range experienced a freak event that has not been seen anywhere in the world. Toowoomba's township suffered an inland tsunami. As the torrential downpour gushed through the city and further down the mountain to the Lockyer Valley, many more communities have been devastated, lives lost and people are missing. The death toll is currently at 9 and expected to rise quite dramatically.

I sit in my apartment in Hamilton, 5km from the heart of the Brisbane CBD and am anxious, but also in a state of awe.
Grantham in the Lockyer Valley has been referred to as 'Ground Zero' - that's the impact Mother Nature has had here in the Great South East.

The Brisbane river has now broken it's banks, with fears that the city will experience it's worst flood since 1974. The Wivenhoe Dam, purpose built to prevent such a disaster after the '74 floods is over 150% with all gates open to release the excess water. However, the rain is still coming and the dam is expected to reach over 200% in capacity tomorrow.

Many inner city and riverside suburbs are now realising the effects of broken river banks. I live approximately 200m from the river, though am praying that I am fortunate enough to be on Hamilton Hill.
My sister and I walked down to Kingsford-Smith Drive in Hamilton about an hour ago to see the river for ourselves, while it's safe and before it peaks with this afternoon's high tide.

Here are a few hipstamatic photos I took:
A small boat moored with many of it's belongings placed on the pontoon in preparation for the potential devastation on the Brisbane River.
{Looking from Kingsford-Smith Drive towards Bretts Wharf}
Looking toward the riverbend suburb of Newstead, Bulimba on the far left and the city in the background. 
A possesion-clad pontoon.
{Looking across at Bulimba waterfront homes, from Hamilton}
The river level at around 1.30pm. Approximately 30cm from breaking the bank on the Hamilton side of the Brisbane River.
I have been glued to the television since around 8am when I found out that I couldn't go to work today. The coverage has been amazing, extensive and the rescue teams, the Australian Defence Force and communities are binding together to prevent further disaster and aid those in need.

Caboolture, 45kms north of Brisbane is currently isolated, Strathpine evacuated and the updates keep coming as the region begins to stop where safe, yet work and rescue with a sense of urgency in those flood stricken areas.

I have watched our Prime Minister Julia Gilliard address the nation through a press conference in Canberra, and the State's Premier Anna Bligh has also given her address and is expected to again momentarily, with further updates.

There will be much more to experience in the next few days, let alone the next 24 hours. I urge you to listen to your radio, turn on the television and remain as calm and aware as possible.
 If you're in Brisbane - get to family, friends and higher ground.

I also urge all of you who can to donate to the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal. You're generosity will no doubt be greatly appreciated, albeit much needed.

Open your heart, and your wallet - donate here.

I will share all I can.
Thoughts and prayers with all those affected.

If you do have any urgent concerns however, the Queensland Flood Hotline is open. Call 1300 993 191.

"This weather may be breaking our hearts, but it won't break our will"
- Premier Anna Bligh.

1 comment:

  1. oh my it is so crazy, it feels a bit surreal. Strange timing, since we are moving away from Brisbane first thing tomorrow morning. Stay safe lovely one!!


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