Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weather Happens

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.


20 comments:

Ocean Girl said...

True.

Betty said...

Very sad for those who have lost friends/relatives and homes, but yeah, I would have left the room too. Guy needs to get some perspective.

Bimbimbie said...

Tsup*!* I heard the birds singing this morning - first time since the weekend - they are happy to see the rain stop too. Silly man - can only hope he damages his car down a pot hole, he'll be bound to take the plane next time ;) Is he one of those southerners who goes to Noosa to sit and drink coffee along Hastings Street?

I've been wondering why it is that some in the media treat disasters like it's some sort of sport ... Australia v's the rest of the world? And why oh why can't they simply say 'people' instead of 'Australians' are dead or missing. Do they assume we don't know we are living in Australia for heavens sake?

Brian Miller said...

that picture is a story in an of itself...that teddy bear almost brought a tear...

Tom said...

aw. yeah, these things happen all over the world--constantly don't they? too bad about spoiling the vacation plans. what a putz

Kate Hanley said...

I thought about you when I heard about the flooding. How awful and that picture just brings it all home. And that guy! How insensitive! But I've noticed that lately, people are increasingly ego-centric without regard to anyone else.

Roy said...

Your colleague reminds me of the people who continued to arrive via cruise ship at the special resort area just to the east of Port au Prince in Haiti just after the earthquake. The attitude there was basically, "Gee, that's awful. But thank goodness it didn't hit here so I can still have fun." It's people like that who make me contemplate leading a revolution and lining all those people up against the nearest wall. Or hanging them from the nearest lamppost.

i beati said...

world over erratic weather - snowhas almost reached us - almost hahah

Perpetual Chocoholic said...

amazing.

Janice said...

Weather happens...yes. Horrible. Media monsters...also yes. They bother me. And I don't know what to say about your all-about-me colleague other than his remarks made me mad too. But it was that photo with the forlorn floating teddy that made me cry.

Mmm said...

Yes. I was just reading about all this yesterday. Awful.

I did though have to laugh at your:
"Budding reporters are putting their lives at risk (I wish)" --oh dear me. Makes me think of the media people here who always hype up snow storms as the big one ..that never comes or maybe just an inch or so.

i will be interested to learn how this all pans out for everyone there. Take care, Baino.

nick said...

Very poignant pic of the teddy bear. Presumably all that remains of some poor kid's playroom and toys. What astonished me was the tourism authorities saying it was still fine to visit Queensland, all the famous sights were still accessible etc. They're kidding, right?

Word check: dingedu. Isn't that some rare Aussie animal?

Jill said...

Ugh...a slap in the head for THAT man...

The final photo is so sad I can hardly look at it.

Carolina said...

What a nice man, your colleague. So in touch with the world around him.

Sometimes I think that weather happens more these days. I'm so sorry for all the people and the animals who are affected by the floods. A very disturbing image, that photo.

Robin said...

Such a tragedy....and I also think about the animals that have lost their homes and lives too.....

Stay dry as you can...

Hugs from San Francisco,

♥ Robin ♥

Kath Lockett said...

I remember that teddy photo from the Age....

Apparently there are a few Melbourne tools and gits who are having a whinge about their ruined Qld holidays. I feel tempted to suggest that they instead trot over to WA and help them put out some bushfires then!

DragonflyLanternshop said...

What a great pic! Im in Bris, but on high ground so have not had any problems (thankfully).

River said...

I remember the 1974 flood, I was living in Brisbane at the time. My hubby was in the Army, so was called upon to help evacuate people and distribute donated goods to those who were housed in tents on the Army barracks land. I remember giving baby clothes, food and nappies.

It's raining here in Adelaide today, nothing like the downpours in QLD, but a reminder just the same that it could happen here too. Watching all the news articles makes me feel so helpless.
That poor teddy, so lost, so needing a towel and a hug.

sophiemunns said...

great post... and thanks for bringing this up... we need positive spirits around at this time... and tourists could actually help the morale of places in really simple yet important way.

The best thing in this whole tragic event (i write from Brisbane where i live on a hill) is that people have been receiving so much support from others - often from strangers - in every possible way. This sharing is what matters most...and there are so many ways to do it. Going on a holiday to a place in Qld is not a bad way to go... I know I want to travel to some communities when things settle a little... kindnesses are what we humans have when all else is lost!

Alan Burnett said...

Disasters, wherever they happen, bring heartbreak, fear, poverty and sorrow. But they happen with remarkable regularity and the majority of them get hardly reported at all. This is in stark contrast to a disaster which becomes "a story" where blanket coverage seems to pander to some kind of "I'm glad that isn't happening to me" trait within the eager consumers. Yep, all in all I agree with you.