Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Twitter and Facebook help Queensland Flood Victims

I am writing this post from my evacuation location
following flooding in Brisbane.

The Brisbane River broke its banks two days ago and
now thousands of homes are flooded and the river has
entered the CBD of Brisbane, Queensland's capital.

The CBD and 115,000 people are without power as a result
of the need to cut power to flooded areas.

Boats and pontoons have been racing wildly down the river,
totally out of control.

Queensland Police kept people informed via Facebook and
the Twitter #qldfloods messages kept information
flowing from people being affected by the floods. The tweets
also provided safety information and were running
at a couple of hundred tweets per minute. Queensland Police
also monitored the Twitter posts and were very quick to
make tweets to correct myths or rumours that were passing
on inaccurate information.

Current indications are that 11,900 homes had water througout
the entire property and 14,700 were partially affected by the
Brisbane floods. 2,500 businesses were flooded over the entire
property while 2,500 were partially flooded.

While the flood level in Brisbane ended up 1 metre lower
that of the 1974 floods, the damage is still devasting
as the population is twice that of 1974 and there has been
a lot of riverside development since.

Many homes have the flood water at roof levels and people in
the upper reaches of the river experienced flood levels greater
than the 1974 floods.

The flood in Brisbane is mirrored throughout the whole State
as 75% of Queensland is under water (Queensland is 6 times the
size of the UK). The city of Ipswich is 30% under water with
homes and buildings destroyed.

Some of the more devastating floods are out West in towns like
Chinchilla, Dalby and Condamine which have been totally evacuated
twice in ten days. Cities in the north like Marborough, Bundaberg
and Rockhampton have also had thousands of people evacuated.

The most dramatic, frighteneing and emotionally disturbing floods
occurred on the range above Brisbane at Toowoomba and the foothill
towns of Grantham, Helidon and Withcott.

People were walking down the main street of the major city of
Toowoomba when a 7 metre walk of water raced through the CBD
drowning some people, throwing cars and containers around like
corks and leaving cars piled up on top of each other.

The 7 metre wall of water then raced down the range gathering
speed and smashed into a number of country towns such as Grantham.
The devastation at Grantham is beyond belief. It has been totally
razed as if a bomb blast hit it. One house with a faimily of three
in it was lifted off its stumps and smashed into splinters with
no visible evidence of the house remaining.

12 people are now confirmed dead and 43 missing.

Hundreds of people have been saved from the fast running
flood waters via Army and SES helicopters, some
plucked from the roofs of cars and houses.

Brisbane and surrounding areas are now in shock and face
a huge cleanup and rebuilding task - with much of the
infrastructure destroyed (roads, bridges, water treatment
plants, etc.).

Thanks to wonderful support from NZ and interstate
and the Defence Forces. The Queensland Police and
State Emergency Services (SES)were courageous and
amazing. Community volunteering and collaboration
has been outstanding.

As the Premier said, "This flood may break our hearts
but will not break our will!"


Susan said...

Our prayers are with your family and all those affected. I just can't imagine how awful this is in person.

Joan said...

Incredibly sad and frightening. You are in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

I hope the water is away soon and you can find your home again.

I think of your people all

Susan said...

Hope things are looking better for you and your neighbors!