In 1974 the Brisbane River broke it's banks and swamped the third largest city in Australia. Tonight, it's expected to peak again and the CBD is a ghost town. Boats are sailing tied to their dismembered pontoons down the river, ferry terminals ruined, riverside restaurants swamped and electricity supplies cut off in anticipation of a flood the size of Germany and France combined which is currently inundating the people of Queensland. Crops have been destroyed, townships are under water and I can barely imagine the mess left behind when the waters subside.
It's a serious thing indeed from the land of droughts and flooding rains. Budding reporters are putting their lives at risk (I wish) standing near raging rivers and spouting hyperbole about Global Warming. The media monsters love a disaster like none other and even our Government channel, the equivalent of the English BBC is going sappy on the whole thing.
I don't mean to denigrate what's happening 127,000 homes are affected, 12 are dead and many others living in makeshift shelters waiting for the waters to subside which won't happen, or so we are told, until the weekend. I have a a friend east of Brisbane who is hoping she won't be affected and another in Labrador on the Gold Coast who's headed home for a while just in case. It's a real disaster there is no question.
Australia is used to natural disasters and extreme weather. We've had 11 years of drought, hurricanes devastating crops, raging seas, levelling cyclones, grounded ships, hail the size of tennis balls. Recovery is always quick, action is taken and despite the devastation to individuals, things return to normal without the sensationalism of media.
Yet amid this, in the work lunchroom today I heard a conversation that disturbed me. A colleague is planning to drive to Noosa, a rather ritzy resort town on the mid Qld Coast next week, and is pissed off because the resort won't refund his money if the flood waters don't subside. It's not flooding at Noosa but the path there is a little soggy. "Why don't you fly?" I suggested (knowing that he's a wealthy man and can easily afford the fare. Not only that but he's driven before and also planned to drive straight through with an overnight in Brisbane so it's not like he's sightseeing on the way up. "Because we've planned to drive! We always drive".
I left the room before losing my temper. It's not anyone's fault. Weather happens.