Collateral Damage From Floods

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All around Australia there are amazing scenes as horrendous floods make their mark on three states.  The capital city of Queensland, Brisbane, was badly hit.  This third largest city in Australia has suffered amazing damage, and some 86 communities are affected in Queensland.  There have been awesome visions on television – the most amazing flotsam and jetsam floating down the mighty Brisbane River that weaves its way through the city centre. 

Floating restaurants, boats still on pontoons, walkways, an array of items from homes, work places and rural properties.  Cars, trucks, shipping containers – all swept away in raging torrents.  Along with some humans.  Currently 16 are listed as deceased.

Everyone is affected.  Fortunately there is amazing community spririt, and as the waters recede volunteers by the thousands are working with those affected – cleaning out homes, shops, sweeping roads, removing rubbish, cooking and providing food for the volunteers and lots more.  The clean up has begun.  “Rebuilding a shattered city.”

The collateral damage is quite extra ordinary too.  50,000 houses still have no power.  That incudes houses that were flooded and those homes that somehow escaped.

What is ‘collateral damage’?  According to Wikipedia “Collateral damage is damage that is unintended or incidental to the intended outcome. The term originated in the United States military, but it has since expanded into broader use.”  In our case, it is the things that happen that was not directly resulting from the floods.

Some people live and/or work near the flood zones, but have no electricity, and some may not have any for some time.  If their area is badly damaged it will be a while, so any normal life is unlikely.  Some people worked within the flood area, and their place of employment is damaged or destroyed.  Perhaps they will have no job.  There are people who live near the floods, but who are restricted in movement.  It is difficult to go anywhere.  The supermarkets near the flood zone were almost empty. Fruit, vegetables, milk and bread were gone, and other products were in short supply.  As farms have lost their properties, and their crops – so prices will be sky high.  People in the floods will have emotion problems, but those who were not may also have emotional problems.  Just watching the news footage is disturbing for all and those who have been spared feel guilt.

The mines were flooded – and the rail lines destroyed, so those who work in the mines will have no work, and no money.  Not everyone could be insured – flood insurance was expensive, and loopholes will mean some folk who thought they were covered are not.  The huge trucks that deliver products to supermarkets and other retailers are destroyed.  It will be  a while before life returns to normal. 

Our tourism industry is at a standstill – our state is not a clean, green nice place to come right now, city hotels are unreachable, restaurants not operating.  The fishing industry – professional and recreation has been affected.  There is so much rubbish floating in the river and out in Moreton Bay, that any boating is unsafe.  Much recreation is impossible. Bicycle and walking paths are destroyed. And so it goes……

Who knows what the real cost to we Queenslanders, or to Australia, will be. As Premier Bligh said “it will be a BIG number.”

There will be much, much more ‘collateral damage.’  Costs of everything will rise, and somehow our government will have to raise the billions to pay for it.  We will all pay.

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