Sunday, January 16, 2011

Qld flood angels

The other night, I dreamt I was being evacuated. (Don't be rude. I mean being asked to leave my home).
There were SES volunteers in a boat outside my house telling me to leave NOW.

All I could think of was that A. I desperately needed a wee, and B. I desperately wanted to grab my laptop.

(Note: Both in real life and in my dream, the kids were with their Dad, and high and dry. Otherwise I would have grabbed them. Obviously.)

Anyway, my laptop is the keeper of most of the really precious things in my life, like my writing, contacts, and photos of my kids and pets. It’s a link to work, friendship, family, information, and it’s invaluable to me.

But no, the rescuers said, there was no time, I had to leave then and there, full bladder or not. (Possibly, in real life, I did have to wee. It is amazing how my bladder manages to make an appearance in many of my dreams.)

But I digress. Before the Dream Bronnie could wee, or grab my computer, the real Bronnie woke up, breathing a sigh of relief that it was only a nightmare.

But for many thousands of residents in Queensland, and now NSW, WA, and VIC as well, my weird-arsed dream has been an incredibly horrific reality.

Survivors had hours, sometimes minutes; to climb, run, drive, or even float to safety. Sometimes they quickly paused to grab something, anything. Sadly, a few people paid for these split decisions with their lives.

Others made it to safety with only the clothes on their backs and a couple of precious things, like their ID or their wallets. Or they died trying to keep their most precious belongings – family, friends, pets – alive.

Can you imagine the terror, the absolute trauma of having, to make split second decisions that could either keep you alive, or not? Or worst, your family?

Some survivors were airlifted, others were pulled and pushed to safety. They found blow-up beds in evacuation centres, where volunteers gave them food, hot drinks, friendship, and shelter.

The survivors queued in an orderly fashion for necessities. Like tampons for the ladies, nappies for babies, milk and sammies for kids, and shavers and deodorant for men.

They were stoic but let's not mince words: It was shit.

I cannot begin to go into the devastation of the Queensland floods, where the raging rivers turned into noisy, evil forces which caused inland tsunamis and dragged the guts out of towns.

As our Premier Anna Bligh said: Mother Nature unleashed something devastasting throughout our state.

And still it continues, with other states going slowly under while the clean-up in Queensland continues.

I was there the other day, handing out water bottles to sweaty, mud-splattered volunteers who were moving debris and washing floors in the stinking mess left behind.

They were all ages, and from all walks of life.  Men, women, kids, and yes, even Generation Y; mucking in and doing whatever they were told to do.

Lining up to register and again for free buses. Sweating in the sun, accepting cold drinks gratefully, barely stopping to pause as they worked, like the volunteer army they've been described as.

And today they're back doing it all over again.

My God they were, and are, awesome.

"Thank you," they'd say, as I handed over a bottle of H20, ironically, the same liquid that has reduced our city to something akin to a war zone. (Well except this water was clean, and safe, and drinkable, and totally not nasty). "No, thank you," I said, and as cliched as it sounds, I meant it from the bottom of my heart.

If you can, find it in your heart to go down and help out. Somehow, some way. Some people are delivering baked goods or doing sausage sizzles; others have eskies of cold drinks. Some are mucking in with their muscles; others are staying home but getting messages out and hooking up helpers and donations to the needy via social media.

If you can't get to the disaster zones, as I've come to think of them, don't go for a look. (The traffic is awful, thanks mostly to the number of volunteers, but also, sadly, the rubberneckers).

Just make a donation online instead. Here is the best place to see what's going on, what's needed, and where.

Meanwhile, here are a few tweets and Facebook updates, which has helped keep the disaster relief on people's minds, while occasionally lightening the mood:

- @girlclumsy: Fisher & Paykel has set up a free temp laundry at 8 Terrace Place Murrarie for any flood victims to wash clothes. 7am to 7pm

- All Brisbane City Council transfer stations are accepting general and green waste free of charge.

from Park Road’s Arriverdeci Pizzeria.
Owner David Silvestri said that while his pizza restaurant was not affected by floodwaters he was throwing stock out because of a power outage. Hot and tired flood victims and volunteers were happy to avail themselves of the gelato before it melted.

- My own nephew and niece-in-law did a sterling job helping those in need in the South Burnett region on behalf of Wondai Electrical Service Pty Ltd. Together, they got generators going, and out on boats to try and get pump stations up and going so the region could have water.

- @CamposCoffeeQLD
Campos Queensland gave free coffee to all emergency services, police, ambos, firies, SES, lifesavers, and army workers this weekend.

- @victorchurchill
Victor Churchill is donating 100% of sales this Wednesday to the Premier's Flood Relief Fund. Every dollar you spend will be donated

- And then there was this, which I took with the permission of one of the girls who put it up on their street as a symbol that Brisbane peeps still have their sense of humour:

Readers, who else deserves accolades for awesomeness during the clean-up? Please feel free to comment, so I can add them to the list.

I'm trying to organise some giveaways for flood victims and I'm pleased to announce that Stubbies (schoolwear for kids) have jumped on board, donating a shirt from their new range. I'm asking all businesses and companies who can afford to help to join in, and I'll then organise a massive (I hope) bloggie giveaway for those in need.

Anyone else? I will post about them regularly with details of giveaways to come.



MotorbikesLady said...

While its great to see so much pooring in for the human flood victims.

The Queensland RSPCA is missing out so hoping they will get some money from donations as well.

I've already emailed whiskas but hopefully others can email other animal food companies etc to see if we can get some donations for those without a voice.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

MaidInAustralia said...

Yes, I also feel for our furry friends. Apparently the RSPCA has had loads of lovely volunteers, but of course, they need loads of money as well. Not to mention the pets which have been lost or injured and need to be reunited with their owners. xo

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