Floods in Australia
Environment Out of Control
There is nothing more dramatic than cars and homes being driven downstream in a flood. This photo is from the Toowoomba flood which hit the inland city at around 10pm on 10 January, 2011.
Many are dead or missing in the early morning light and homes, businesses and agricultural properties are devastated. To add to the country's woes fish kills are evident along the southern beaches of New South Wales due to enormous algae blooms in the oceans. With the huge amount of rain in recent days the oceans are being altered as the salt content declines and toxic chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and nitrogen based fertilisers are washed into the sea. God help us from here on in.
UPDATE: Queensland is drying out with some 4000 or more homes affected, many now unliveable and many more unrestorable. It is doubtful if homes destroyed can be rebuilt on the same ground because of liquifaction (earth turns to liquid under pressure). Now parts of Victoria is under water in the north-west regions
UPDATE:17th January. The waters have receeded in Qld and the scenes there are devatating. More bodies have been found in the Lokyer Valley and houses have been so badly damaged that they have to be removed and lives restarted. Many are not going to stay in the areas where they were most affected. One man said he just could not face staying on there where there are so many bad memories. It was heartbreaking hearing of the sad loss of life and of children swept out of parents arms or those of their rescuers.
The good news is that the CBD is coming back to life and the produce markets, which were under water 2 days ago, have reopened with stock from Victoria and elsewhere.
Now floods are in Victoria and Tasmania and the scenes there are not encouraging although nowhere near as bad.
UPDATE January 23rd, 2011: It is 2 weeks since the tsunami hit Toowoomba and now the heartbreak continues. Bodies are still being found in the Lockyer valley with another likely human remains found today. The death toll has now reached 33 with still 9 or so missing. One old lady, who was watching TV at the time, had no chance as the waters hit with horrific force washing her away. The body of a small 4 old boy, who was lost while being rescued, having fallen from a boat, has also been recovered. Yesterday a mother and her 13 year old son were buried. The boy had told rescuers to take his younger brother first and they could not get back to them to save their lives.
This tragedy will be playing out for years to come as whole towns have been destroyed. Homes are no longer there and many will never return. But it gets worse.
One week after Brisbane was flooded the story is still playing out. The floodwaters have remained in great ponds of infested polluted water which is full of ecoli bacteria and reeks to high heaven. Mud of the same description is being hosed and shovelled from homes all over the previously flooded areas. Sights one would never want to see are being revealed on the news media as households are entered for the first time. Furniture is a sodden rotting mess and cupboards, already caked and reeking, are opend to reveal putrifying food and stores. It is nothing but heartbreak.
The weather is humid, hot, sticky and at the best uncomfortable.
In Victoria the waters continue to rise with the death toll mounting there as well. Today a man drowned while swimming in the flooded Murray river. A few days ago an 8 year old boy was drowned in a swollen billabong. Tasmania has also seen floods around the north of that state, Food prices are soaring and the government is in a flap wondering how to pay for the rebuilding of billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and support for those left with nothing. Many of the victims were uninsured against river floods. Some never had a policy at all.
Many coal mines are under water and Qld supplies most of the world's coal. No coal means no electricy and no heating for the Northern Hemisphere. It also means less income for the already struggling governments.
Thousands of kilometers of railway line, roads, sewerage and other infrastructure is in urgent need of urgent repair before the state gets moving again. Harvests in other areas are unable to go anywhere because of flooded roads, unsafe bridges and railway lines out of action. In a word it's a mess
We need your help. The Aussies are battling and we could use a hand. Usually the first to give generously to overseas causes it is now our turn to say HELP. But you won't just be helping those affected by the floods but yourself and the rest of the world as well.
The cost of the flood damaged Qld infrastructure repair alone is a conservative $5 billion. The Federal gov't is giving large sums to busineses to help them recover and also to people who have lost everything, a generous $25,000. This link works well from my end but some are saying they cannot access it. If that is the case for you just google Queensland Flood Appeal and I am sure you will come to the right place.
UPDATE ; Januaury, February and March 2012. One year on and the floods are back. Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia, that's five states covering more than half the continent, has been underwater in some parts. A massive rain event has kept downpours of up to 300 ml, that's an enormous amount (OVER THREE FEET), belting many regions, Where I live in Canberra we had 260 ml in just 4 days. Now that water has moved down the Murrumbidgee River to major inland cities. Wagga Wagga, Griffiths, Gundagai, and so on are evacuating thousands of people. Cooma has been devastated in the Snowy Mountains and Bathurst and Orange as well. Crops, livestock and wildlife have seen heavy losses. This is Climate Change and it will only get worse.
A Biblical size Flood
After the Drought
Ten years of devastating and unrelenting drought took its toll on Australian food production as water was restricted, rivers dried up and many desperate farmers committed suicide. The government coffers were stretched to the limits a compensation was paid out to keep people on their land. Everyone was praying for rain.
And then the rain CAME and CAME and CAME: The water pouring into Qieensland was unrelenting. Animals washed away, farms ruined, cities and towns underwater. Massive evacuations taking place all over the state. Then it went further.
Areas that were drought sticken before were now flooded with an ocean of water that spread out as far as the eyes can see. Queensland homes are usually built on stilts to give them more air from underneath as this is in a rather warm area while in the North of the state is the tropics. That's why you see homes above the water line while the clothes line peeps out above the water just below.
New South Wales was next
This is the adjoining state to Queensand and the rivers drain into it. So the floods arrived here as well. Towns were submerged as the waters passed through.
This from the State Emergency Services Website:- "Approximately 5,000 people remain isolated across parts of inland NSW. The townships of Wee Waa, Warren, Carinda, Wollar, Smiths Road and areas of the Pilliga and large numbers of rural properties are isolated with some areas remaining so for up to three weeks. The SES continues to monitor this situation and are conducting resupply of essential items, stock fodder, medications and organising the transport of school children returning home for the Christmas holidays to isolated rural properties. "
It is hard to imagine the conditions when flood waters surround you on all sides and you are stranded in your home. Panic sets in as rain continues to fall. Will you be the next casualty? Will someone come and rescue you? What do you do with all your photos, essential records, videos, computer and things that are hard or impossible to reokace?
With those questions flooding your brain the SES turns up in a boat and orders you out immediately. No time to collect anything. Only your life is worth saving. This from the SES
"The State Emergency Service (SES) says heavy rain in northern New South Wales is worsening current flooding in the area.
A further 200 millimetres of rain is expected within the next 36 hours as the risk of major flooding increases on the north and mid-north coasts.
Around 1,400 people remain cut off by floodwaters west of Coffs Harbour and Bonalbo."
UPDATE:- towns in the north east of the state have been inundated but levees were not breached in Grafton or Goondiwindi. Many properties destroyed and stock losses but final tally not yet known.
Floods have hit a vast area of Australia including Victoria, NSW, South Australia (SA) and Western Australia (WA). The land includes the highly productive agricultural areas with stock losses high but the ground crops were the worst hit, Australia supplies most of the world's wheat and cereal crops at this time of the year. This year it won't happen.
Channel Nine News: "Farmers are counting the cost after more than 100mm of rain was dumped in some areas last weekend, destroying grain crops and affecting yields at the crucial harvest time.
Loddon Shire chief executive John McLinden said tens of thousands of hectares of cereal crops had been wiped out and thousands of hectares of hay had been lost" Read the rest of the article . . .
"Farming lobby group AgForce estimates 50 per cent of the state's crops have been affected by heavy rain, causing a significantly reduced yield - with up to 20 per cent of crops lost.
And the problems of getting food to markets have been exacerbated by roads cut by flood waters. Read more here . . . "
All States Affected
The Harvest was Not to Be
There are many crops that Australia supplies to the rest of the world which will just not be happening this year, and maybe for at least another year or two to come.
Wheat is one of the main staples on which most of the world depends. It is the main source of flour used in much of what we consume, But so too is sugar and the video below is a great reminder of how devastating floods may see a rise in famine throughout the world. While the Northern Hemisphere suffered extreme heat, drought, floods, fires and so on during its last growing season Australian harvested food was to be the salvation. But it isn't going to be so great after all.
Sugar crops devastated
Australian Flood Appeal
Still images from Dreamstime - click here
© 2011 norma-holt