Article by: Hari Yellina
As the flood waters recede after the second big rain event of the year, a “heartbreaking” clean-up and recovery effort is underway across Queensland. On Monday, flood warnings were issued for the Mary, Condamine, Balonne, Thompson, and Cooper River and stream catchments in Queensland’s southern interior, as river systems continued to rise. However, once the rain stopped, attention turned to flood recovery activities in the Lockyer Valley, where Laidley’s main street and surrounding farmland had been flooded. While the immediate cost of repairs was still being calculated, Australians were warned that the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables would rise as a result of the tragedy.
Farmers that risked planting after the February flood lost their entire crops and are now facing financial catastrophe. Tanya Milligan, the mayor of Lockyer Valley, said crops were decaying in the ground and that 90 percent of insurance claims had been denied. “A lot of those farmers were counting on that (insurance benefit),” Milligan explained. “There will be farmers who do not intend to replant.” People who have just lost everything will be asking if it was all worth it. “I’m concerned about that, and I’m not sure how quickly they’ll recover.”
I’m not sure what that means for us as a state, as a country… for every mother and father and a couple of kids who want to buy their food at the supermarket.” Milligan said the strain had taken its toll on a community that has endured years of drought and now floods, as fatigued residents confronted yet another huge clean-up. Milligan told reporters, “The previous few days have been absolutely gut-wrenching, soul-destroying, and quite emotional.” “I believe it’s fair to say, and I feel obligated to say it as mayor, that we’re a little tired.” “Now that the waters have receded… I truly feel it’s the emotional aspect of things, as well as the rebuilding and cleanup.”
Unusually heavy May rains drenched homes and businesses last week, flooding highways and bridges across the state. On Wednesday, a woman was murdered after her car was buried in flood waters in Mackay. When her body was discovered, she was still wearing her seatbelt. Two more people have gone missing, with police searching the Brisbane River for a man last seen on Sunday and a second guy missing near Stanthorpe. During the flooding, Keiran Wilson, 26, was last seen driving out from his Ballandean house at 9 a.m. on Friday 13 May. Mark Ryan, Queensland’s police minister, said the state government would cooperate with residents to repair and rebuild.
“A number of companies and residents have been touched in this region, and it tears your heart to see how badly people have been affected,” Ryan added. “While you can always rebuild, calamities like this take an emotional toll on people’s life.” “I wanted to reaffirm to everyone that the authorities, the councils, the state government, and the federal government all work together here to assist people in the recovery effort,” she said. While the upper trough that caused the flooding has moved offshore, light showers are forecast to persist this week before another weather system forms on Friday.