13 January 2011

Queensland floods - rain we no longer want

Most of Australia was gripped by drought for many years and the rains that broke the drought last year were hailed and welcomed. Unfortunately and more recently, rain continued and became a destructive force.

I've previously written (twice) about the Victoria bushfires of early 2009, the Haiti earthquake of early 2010 and the Pakistan floods of mid 2010.

The Queensland floods this week are a little closer to home. Unlike the rural small towns and villages that were affected by the 2009 bushfires, Brisbane is a large metropolis with a population of around 2 million people. Over the last 20 years, Brisbane and the Queensland south eastern corridor have experienced high population growth, primarily due to internal migration. Most Australians, therefore, would know of someone living in Brisbane.

I was born in Brisbane but now live and work elsewhere. My first home as a baby was located in a suburb, which is now mostly underwater. Two brothers live in the southside of Brisbane, that was thankfully largely unaffected. I also have numerous friends in Brisbane, many of whom moved there and many locals that I have befriended over the years.

I also visit Brisbane on a regular basis, supporting and attending home games of my football team the Brisbane Lions, while also catching up with family and friends. It is my home away from home.

The media reports over the last week have been difficult to watch and read.

This clip from the Courier Mail shows the effect of the flood.

The most heartbreaking story has been about 13-year-old Jordan Rice, who told a rescuer to save his 10-year-old brother instead, before being swept away with his mother. Brave, heroic, selfless and tragic. We weep for him and his sacrifice.

The most poignant words were spoken today by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh at one of her regular two-hourly press briefings
As we weep for what we have lost, and as we grieve for family and friends and we confront the challenge that is before us, I want us to remember who we are.

We are Queenslanders. We are the people they breed tough north of the border. We're the ones that they knock down, and we get up again.
Here is the clip, which is worth watching.

The premier has been a pillar of strength, leading and reassuring her people at what is one of the worst times in the state's history. We salute her.

You can help by donating to Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal (provision is made for international donations).

Round-the-clock reporting is being provided by ABC News 24, which is (geo)unblocked and may be viewed online.

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