No, I’m not referring to my current manuscript. I’m talking about something far more serious–deadly floods in Australia. Brisbane, Queensland, where I was born and lived for most of my life, fell victim to a flood of biblical proportions earlier this week. After three weeks of heavy rain that saturated the land, water simply had nowhere to go. In Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, a freak body of water eight metres high roared through the main street and tossed cars like Matchbox toys. Entire communities have been wiped out. The death toll presently stands at 16, with dozens more missing.
I was in the city on Monday and Tuesday to attend a family funeral, which unfortunately had to be cancelled due to local flooding west of Brisbane. On Monday night, we were stunned to learn of the inland tsunami and even more gobsmacked when warnings of a repeat of Brisbane’s 1974 floods began to sound out. As rain poured all that night, we realised those warnings were justified. We were staying at my mother-in-law’s house, which is located in a suburb that was on the flood warning list.
My hubby and I left for the airport three hours before our scheduled flight, intending to take a train to save my m-i-l the trip. Usually, it’s a 40-minute drive. We needed every single minute of those three hours to get to the airport. Our train was was delayed for five minutes, then 10 minutes, then 30 minutes. That’s when we decided to find a cab. Easier said than done.
Traffic was clogged. Rain poured and poured (my shoes are still wet!). We dragged our suitcase for several blocks in Indooroopilly. One cab with its ‘free’ light on refused to pick us up. (Yeah, thanks!) With an hour to go before our flight, we finally found a willing cab driver. It inched all the way to the airport, following the swollen Brisbane River most of the way. The radio reported that the CBD was being evacuated. The CBD! Even when we finally got home a couple of hours later, I still couldn’t shake the feeling that we were in danger.
Obviously, my flood story is far less significant compared to the horror stories relayed on TV and the papers. It’s been almost 10 years since I lived in Brisbane. The weirdest thing is that as I watch all the coverage, I’ve never been more homesick. Seeing all the places I lived in and loved under threat really is heartbreaking.
If you can help humans and animals who’ve lost everything, please donate to:
- The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
- The Premier’s Flood Relief Appeal. Many residents in flood-prone areas aren’t insured. A little donation will go a long way. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has done an outstanding job as a leader during this crisis. She’s faced a lot of criticism during her term so far, but her calm, decisive conduct has wiped the slate clean for me.
Good luck to anyone who has been touched by the floods so far.