Saturday, January 15, 2011

Many Hands


Early yesterday morning when we came down to our flat we were shocked to see that the river had dropped 2 metres overnight and where my fella had canoed to the first floor the previous afternoon was now just an ankle-deep sludge.  


At 6am the streets were eerily quiet but the tell-tale signs of destruction lay all around us...


    
 I had been meaning to get the sheets in off the line but with all the rain I just never got around to it!




Our garden didn't look too inviting...


 And my friend Bron's place around the corner looked even worse...


It was a bad morning... made worse by our next-door neighbours getting this note when they returned to their possessions covered in toxic sludge...


Then the clouds parted and we had a ray of sunshine... This is Wayne. He had just turned up with a high pressure water-hose on the back of his ute and wanted to help in any way that he could.  Soon our home was open and people started arriving with mops and buckets, sleeves rolled up, ready to go.


They turned up from all over the place - miles and miles away. Some kids had come up from Logan after hearing about it on facebook and twitter. At one point I walked downstairs to find 10 people in our carpark sweeping out all the sludge. I nearly cried!
(Actually I did cry)

Kevin turned up...


So did the army, the police and the red cross. Our local councillor co-ordinated all the volunteers directing them to people who needed them. Soon we were turning people away because we just had so many people helping. It was unbelievable. People arrived with sandwiches, fruit, water and they set up barbeques on street corners.

People needed the fuel: there was a lot to do...


Today work continued in earnest with special bus-loads of volunteers arriving at 8am along with the army and a convoy of front-end loaders. Followers of this blog might recognise the Billy Tea shop. I helped clean that out yesterday. All the food in it was rancid and the stink in there was unbelievable but the crew of volunteers were cracking jokes and made light of it.


And of course we all made time for a beer...


My neighbour has opened her house to my family and another family. Her house has become a child-minding facility and she still is managing to organise sandwich drops and refreshment drops whenever she can. It's a mammoth effort from everyone in the neighbourhood and has brought us closer together.


Apologies for the erratic posting ...been a bit busy.



16 comments:

AquaMarina said...

so sorry Cara for the turmoil you're going through, it must be unbelievable to see all your familiar places and things coated in toxic sludge. Your picture of that little dead animal on the pavement brings home starkly how so many creatures, and humans have perished in the catastrophe.
I'm glad you've now been inundated with good will and generosity to help you and your family and neighbours through this harrowing experience xx

Annie said...

You do have friends in high places. I hope he kept his foot carefully out of the mud this time!
I hope you don't mind I put a link to your blog on my post today.
All the best for the clean up Car. Good to see you have help and accommodation.
There must be the makings of a book or a movie out of your blog and the Billy Tea shop by now!

Paul said...

Love these pictures, they do give an idea of what really took place and your neck of the woods.
So pleased to see that you have many helpers to make light of the work that is necessary to get back on an even keel. Hopefully in the not too distant future you will be able to look back at this and the positives will outweigh the water and sludge. Chin up!

Mark Bellamy said...

Wow what a day you have had, I remember a few weeks ago you were a bit doubting about your blog but you were destined to capture Brisbane on the saturday after thr flood better that any journo i've seen. I really liked the picture of the shop that it has survived another 'event'. It is a terrible event but your photo story shows the positives that are happening. Still keepsafe

Steffe said...

Hard to understand what you have been through over the last week or so. Some very good news photos here. And nice that there was time for a few smiles and even a beer!

observer said...

heartening photos. i think my friend in Forbes St is in similar straights.

BTW, i should add - i think this generosity of support would, by and large, occur nationwide and it's not just because someone lives in Coolangatta rather than Tweeds Heads that they would respond like this

great photos, pats on the back to the helpers

Carola said...

Cara, your post is stunning. Thanks for this documentary. Each photo is great. It's unbelievable what your going through, and your blogging is outstanding. The way you report what happend to you and your neigberhood. Every photo tells an own story.
The way how Australians react in this catastrophe is exemplarily, to help each other with a smile, don't worry and make the best out of it.

Alan O'Riordan said...

I'm not normally one for gushing (excuse the unintentional pun), but... wow! These are very evocative, a great pictorial summary of what went on up there.

Donna said...

Wow Cara, these photos really show us the reality of your life over the past few days, thanks for sharing them.
Its good to know that you are being so well looked after and there is plenty of help for everyone.
Your photos and reports are outstanding!

Ann said...

Thanks for the update. Wonderful and touching photos. Hope spirits can remain high while you get through this.

bitingmidge said...

Great reporting Cara, a terrible thing for you, yet the atmosphere in Brisbane is truly incredible.

It will take weeks or months to return to a new "normal" but with the community support in place I'm sure it will happen!

Meg in Nelson said...

Can't think of much else to add, but do take care. We heard Kevin hurt his foot. So you be careful of infections, too, please?

Joanna said...

Cara, I had been worrying but now I see that you and all the wonderful helpers that came are busy getting lives back to normal. Thank you for all the photos, which do tell the story as has already been said. It's good to see some smiles. Take care.

Julie said...

Excellent post Cara, both images and text. I especially found the lounge suite in the middle of the street very poignant.

Really good stuff.
Brava!

That Kevin - he's a one, isn't he?

Stuart McMillen said...

Thanks for sharing. Good to see Kevin out and about...although he may have regretted his choice of trousers...

Andrew McMillen said...

Great post. Thank you for sharing.

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