Sunday, February 06, 2011

Rotarians launch 'flood fightback'

The summer of 2010-11 will leave many scars on the flood and cyclone-ravaged Queensland community.

THE scenes of devastation after the Queensland floods will haunt us for life, whether we simply viewed the televised images or witnessed them first-hand – as volunteers or victims – during the clean-up.
The emotional weight that landed on the army of clean-up volunteers reflects in the latest edition of Capalaba Rotary Club's weekly bulletin, Possum Post.
It was like a lull before the storm when the club featured recently in the Classifieds, posting the names of its Christmas Trailer Art Union winners.
The festive cheer, however, had already departed early last week and the club was developing a program to help regional flood victims when the South East Queensland emergency developed. As club president Terry Ryan said: "What a difference a space of a few hours can make."

WITH Toowoomba and Grantham devastated and Ipswich and Brisbane about to be swamped, the Redland Rotarians first organised support to staff and equip a proposed Capalaba evacuation centre, and were on standby for this task until Thursday, when it was decided they should instead register with Volunteers Queensland.
"Club members had rallied to the call and we were able to turn out late Friday morning with seven Rotarians and three Cadet Officers from 136 Cadet Unit," Terry said.
On Friday, the unit went to West End. "The sight of the grey river mud and silt that covered the roads, footpaths, furniture, houses and anything that had been in the path of the water was eerie," Terry said.
"It was a surreal experience overall, something like a war zone, with Blackhawks and media helicopters flying low and hovering, people walking dazed among what used to be their homes and neighbourhoods, the noise of gen sets and pressure cleaners and the smell from the silt and mud already starting to develop."

ON Saturday the Redlanders returned to West End, then joined the clean-up at Rocklea. By Sunday, the group had swelled to 30 and again worked at Rocklea.
"There have been tales of heartbreak and sadness, we have met many people who have lost everything except what they were wearing and I felt much thanks that I could come back each night to my home, finding it intact, having power, a hot meal and a bed to sleep in," Terry said.
The Capalaba, Cleveland, Redland Sunrise, Redlands Bayside and Wellington Point Rotary Clubs – in tandem with the Bayside Bulletin – have combined to hold the Monster Flood Fightback Garage Sale in Nelson Road, Wellington Point on Saturday, February 5 and 12.
They have called for donation of quality, saleable items: "Fellow Redlanders ... we need your help!!!"

This column appeared in The Redland Times.

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