Brisbane flood, from an island in suburbia


We are stranded on a suburban island in inner city Brisbane as I write this. At 30m above sea level we should be ok, but the surrounding suburbs of Fairfield, Yeronga, Rocklea and Yeerongpilly are inundated. It is very quiet out, very little traffic. Amazingly beautiful day, blue skies and the rain has finally stopped after months.

Many of my friends in West End and New Farm have had to evacuate after trying to save some of their things. One told me that, “Our house is filling up with water. Everyone has left and the power is turned off. Some stuff has been rescued, other stuff is destined to become paper mache or become part of the Moreton bay eco system. Our house appears to be in a delightful lagoon like area that is now filled with raw sewage. Hopefully the flood proper will clear away that particular smell.”

Another has evacuated her house in New Farm with two cats and a number of chickens in her car. She says, “The river is rising, the value of river front property is falling. This event is a good reminder to us 'humans' that we are not in control of this planet we are at her mercy just like any other inhabitant.”

Yesterday we were evacuated from the Brisbane Convention Centre where I had taken my children for a show. The show was cancelled and we were told to leave the area. Mothers and children were rushing everywhere, desperate to get home quickly as we were quite close to the river at Southbank. The busway was full to overflowing with people trying to get home, some seemed quite panicky. The bus driver waived us all on without checking our tickets. The rain continued relentlessly all day, but stopped by the evening.

My partner went out twice to help a friend in nearby Oxley whose house, near a creek, was early to flood on Tuesday morning. By 7pm Tuesday it was up to the floorboards of their elevated house and they were moving things up the hill to a neighbours house. People were crying.

My oldest children went to the supermarket to get candles and soy milk yesterday evening. That's where the collapse of civilisation was most evident. The bread, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables and bottled water had been stripped bare, and although most of the shoppers had left at 8pm, they left a mess of evidence of the panic many people are feeling, with broken bottles and crushed fruit strewn across the aisles.

Now it's just a waiting game, the river is expected to peak at about 2pm, then again with the King Tide expected on Thursday. I envision that 10m wall of water getting bigger as it moves out of the Lockyer Valley towards the Brisbane and Bremer Rivers.

I'm expecting that our power will soon be cut and we have bottled a lot of water in case the main are damaged. Police are telling us not to use or phones and to stay off the roads. I hope people take the advice and we don't see any more cars washed away with tragic results. But there is a climate of panic.

Attached are some pictures friends took late yesterday as the water slowly rose in the inner suburbs of West End, Fairfield and New Farm.



I am reading your blog from New Zealand, and I just wanted to say that we are thinking of you all in Queensland and wishing the best for you at this scary and difficult time.

Good luck to all in Brisbane and Queensland. From San Diego USA

Thanks Kim for taking the time to share you experience with Indymedia readers. Good luck with everything.

I'm Kim's partner, last night we worked pulling peoples belongings out of houses already with a meter of water under them, whole streets had people packing what they could into cars and anything they could get, it was extremely grim to see families that had packed their car full and just had to leave the rest of their possessions for the waters crying and supporting each other.

We had people walking down the hill into the water and just starting to join in, we were moving stuff out of peoples houses and vehicles were turning up, a truck here or there out of nowhere, suddenly you had 3 or 4 more people you didn't even know ferrying possessions out of houses no need for words. Families taking on another families work it was quite emotional. Barriers simply broke down as people rolled up their sleeves and got stuck in. I think the most noticably emotional aspect was seeing people go straight for kids toys and belongings as a priority, hopefully in some way to save them from the inevitable feeling of loss.

Most of the people I spoke too helping out had no insurance, and only a car to pack both family and possessions in. They lost everything.

My mates house this morning (QLDer houses are on 'stilts' so effectively two stories high) had a meter of water inside the house and still rising, there is another 3m of water expected over the evening into tomorrow, so the whole house will be covered by now. And to think there is house after house, street after street, family after family into the thousands that have been emotionally drained by this feeling of sudden loss.

Thankyou for your updated photos, it is really frustrating listening to the same info on the media, emphasising the same dramatic photos and video footage, but ignoring areas of Brisbane I really need to see and hear updated reports about as I have friends there!! Your blog is more useful from this point of view than the ABC, despite their massive resources. Thankyou again and keep safe.

I am reading your blog from New Zealand, and I just wanted to say that we are thinking of you all in Queensland and wishing the best for you at this scary and difficult time.