The Mighty Clean-Up

15 Jan

Now for the hard work. We have been watching for days on the TV as the water engulfs the city of Brisbane, and travelling to local places to guage the levels. But now – the clean-up begins. I’ve never been in a natural disaster before. This is crazy for me. I had no idea of what would be left when the water drained. We started at a friends place in Orleigh Street West End. K’s garage had remnants of the flood water which had gone seven bricks high. We started on the footpaths around the garages to stop the slippery slick. Then we moved into the garage, taking out water affected boxes, and other items. Luckily for K we had been there on Wednesday morning to take the important items upstairs which was unaffected. Lots more people came, jumping over fences seemingly from nowhere. Armed with buckets, brooms, gloves. Still smiling and with lots of stories to tell. One garage was home to a load of garage sale items that were left over. How heart-breaking is it to see so many books ending up on big garbage heaps on the edge of properties.

Later over at Dudley Street, another friends unit and more mud to be hosed and swept into the drains. It was so much easier to keep on with the work as there was so many people around you doing the same thing. I couldn’t believe how the mud just kept on coming. Sustenance arrived – random people wandering up and down the road carrying boxes of rolls, a sausage sizzle on the opposite side of the road. A few members of the army arrived carrying out the clean-up with the help of gurneys. The firies turned up with their hoses, some struggling to hold the stream of water.
Next came helping out L and lots of others underneath a carpark up the road a little. The mud was mid-calf level in places. I found big pieces of glass in places under the mud from a broken door. The pressure from the riding river was obviously far too great.

We got a visit from the ex-PM who was dishing out advice for all the helpers – wear gloves, use dettol, and stay safe. We even got a handshake and a photo!

Last night after the work was done, and a much needed shower and a good dousing with dettol it was time for a few beers and a steak. Food has never tasted so good.

I’m constantly amazed by all the helpers I was surrounded by yesterday. Still smiling. Upbeat. And even at the pub last night, disaster brought people together. Because of it we have to ability to approach people, ask them how they are, how they were affected. Hear their stories. Its a cliche but I think we are all a little bit closer because of our shared stories and how this flood has touched us all.

On a lighter night are you all sick of the over-use of the word “surreal” to describe our situation? This call goes out to you S!

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One Response to “The Mighty Clean-Up”

  1. Miss Crusoe January 17, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    I probably am guilty of the ‘surreal’ offence I have to say…

    What breaks my heart it is that in Brazil and Sri Lanka the clean-up will be a different story:(…bring on the new system!

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