I know that at least one member of Romance Writers of Australia has lost everything, as have thousands of people all over our huge state. The Premier's Flood Appeal is one way of helping, although RWA will also be starting up a book collection for damaged libraries.
As I have family in Toowoomba, the Brisbane Valley and Brisbane, I've been particularly tense listening to the news over the last few days, and the phone has been running hot. I was especially worried about my mum who lives on 5 acres of lovely garden in the Brisbane Valley. When we visited her at Christmas the closest bridge to her was already under water and since then all other crossing have been flooded.
College's crossingDespite offers of accommodation in Ipswich and Brisbane, she opted to stay, not really expecting her last route to be cut off, or to lose her power and phone. Last phone call I had, before the lines went down, she was still calm, however, (much calmer than I was) and playing Patience by candlelight.
As you can imagine, this was extremely worrying for the rest of us, but to my relief we received news from a neighbour yesterday morning that Mum was with them and they had cooking and showering facilities. I knew Mum would be OK if she could have a cup of tea.:)
After that I could pay more attention to the images of Brisbane, where I knew my daughters and my sister and their families were high and dry.
But what a shock to hear from Emma that they couldn't shift the pianos out of the Queensland Conservatorium, which was almost certainly going to be flooded.
The biggest irony is that this area of SE Qld and much of Eastern Australia has been in drought for the last decade. Dorothy Mckellar sure got it right when she referred to our 'sunburnt country' (which she loved) as a land of 'drought and flooding rains.'
A final ironic (personal) twist for me is that the book I've just finished is set in this area. My hero has a farm on the Darling Downs and the heroine is working in Brisbane and there's quite a bit of travelling and key scenes en route via Toowoomba -- the very path of the terrible inland tsunami that horrified us all. I felt distinctly squirmy working on the manuscript on Monday and Tuesday while so many terrible events were unfolding.
I can only express huge admiration for everyone who's coping with this so stoically, or helping, or preparing to get stuck into the horrible clean up.