Thursday, February 10, 2011

Queensland floods 2011: first-hand experiences

Going from romantic Paris photos to Queensland floods is not a smooth transition but now that things have somewhat returned to normal, I wanted to capture those few crazy days.

It started raining before we even left for the States. When we got back a month later, I had a chat with my colleague who said that they had 2 sunny days in the month we were gone. It had been raining non stop all that time. I didn't mind it. It's actually quite a nice change from the non-stop sunshine. I didn't mind it until I wore the light green dress that showed every single raindrop and backsplash from shoes, which made me look like I've wet myself.

On Tuesday around noon reports started coming in that Brisbane might flood. They suggested we better head home. They had started evacuating some places in the city centre because they were under the risk of flooding. I didn't think it was going to be anything serious. Authorities tend to over-react in these situations so that people take them more seriously. I didn't mind leaving early, however.

It was raining. And raining. And raining. And raining. And raining.

On the news the Brisbane Mayor come on and said that the situation is not good. The dam that holds water for Brisbane is over 100% and it has filled up drastically over the last 24 hours. They don't have a choice but to let some of the water off. From their predictions Brisbane will flood.

As time went on there were more and more reports coming in that the floods will be bad. I still didn't believe it.

Our friends called. They live on the river and needed help to get everything out of their house because they will most likely flood. We went over there and packed up their whole house in about 3 hours. It was like packing on speed. Afterwards we all got back to our place and went to bed.

The next morning we woke up and had a breakfast when someone looked outside the balcony and said "There is water at the end of the street."


These two photos were taken at the bottom of our street

All the news channels were saying that the peak of the floods will happen on Thursday. It was Tuesday and the water already was at the end of our street.

We live on the second floor so there was no danger to us but there was a possibility that the power will be turned off. So we packed up our things and went north to stay with friends' of friends.

The next few days were a nightmare. I've never seen so much water. Our apartment building was an island and the power was cut off. We weren't staying here but came to check out the situation, which was pretty grim.

The garage at our friend's place looked like this:

The door going into their basement looked like this:

And sidewalk that used to be a beautiful walkway by the river had become this (that's a street light poking out from the water)

In some areas the devastation was unimaginable. We went to drive around and see how communities are rebuilding about a week later and there were still homes with dirt marks up to their roofs, marking how high the muddy flood waters came up.

The ironic thing was that by the time the floods reached Brisbane the rain had stopped and it was sunny. But there was so much to clean up. Hundreds of thousands of people came into the streets and strangers were helping each other to get the city back into its pre-floods state.

(Mooball image)

Seems like things are slowly getting back to normal. There are still people who are rebuilding but the city seems to be functioning as before.

Stories of the floods

1 comment:

melissa said...

Wow! That is just so surreal. I can't imagine what it would be like to experience flooding like that. I'm glad that you were safe and didn't have damage to your apartment! How long were you out of your home?