By Antony Balmain in Brisbane
Lynette Davies stands in a shaded corner of the busy flood recovery centre, rocking her two-year-old great-grand child to sleep. Dozens of people wait to be assisted, in the summer heat, 100km from Brisbane in south east Queensland.
“When the storm came. It wasn’t so much the rain, but the devastation that the rain brought and how quickly it came down,” Lyn says.
Thousands of Queenslanders face difficulties accessing the basics, says 62-year-old Lyn. “The floods have affected everybody, everyday. There’s no bread, there’s no fresh milk, no petrol.”
The bridge connecting One Mile, the small town where she lives, to the city of Ipswich was destroyed by the floods. “That’s very scary. If the babies get sick or if you can’t get to a doctor, you’ve got no bus service whatsoever, you’re just stuck there.”
Smiling lovingly at her family, Lyn says, “I’ve got four children and I brought up four grandchildren, and now I’m bringing up three great-grandchildren... never a dull moment in my house!”
Recent years have not been easy. On top of recovering from cancer, Lyn says the recent disaster has brought memories back of her house being devastated by the huge floods that swamped much of Queensland in early 2011.
“There’s nothing more frightening than sitting there, watching the water rise, you don’t sleep.”
“The water came in through the back door, through the kitchen and into the lounge room. You end up with concrete floors because all your carpet has gone.” She describes the stench of mud and everything rotting in her former home: “You get that smell in the concrete forever.”
Despite losing a lot of her possessions two years ago, Lyn says it was the little precious things that meant the most. “I had a teapot. My son bought it for me when he was 10. And I’ve carried it around with me everywhere and when I went through the boxes, the teapot was broken. I cried for days.”
Lyn says due to her experiences with the last big floods, this time she made sure she was prepared, which helped her whole family deal with the disaster.
Fortunately, this year her house was mostly spared from the flood waters. “Underneath is flooded but that will dry out. I’m lucky, and I’m really grateful for that.”
The Australian Red Cross has been assisting thousands of people in evacuation and recovery centres across Queensland following tornadoes and flooding.
For Lyn, it was the Red Cross that came knocking to make sure she was OK two years ago, and the organization was there again this time. “You can come down here and look around and there’s Red Cross saying: ‘Are you alright? Do you need anything? Do you need to talk? Do you need a drink of water? You can’t ask for anything more than that,” she says.