HEARTWRENCHING – City of Charm becomes city of devastation

MudBUNDABERG “City of Charm” has become city of heartbreak and devastation since six mini tornados and ex tropical cyclone Oswald hit last weekend.
Small areas of Bundaberg are flood-prone and people in those areas had time to move at least some of their belongings, but the record-breaking flood took most by surprise.  We recorded 20 inches (530mm) of rain.

The river broke its banks and the fast moving (40 knots or 75 kph) current very quickly engulfed North Bundaberg.  Emergency, mandatory evacuations were called.

Mud 1Mud 27,500 people were evacuated.

The public hospital was evacuated, with about 90 patients airlifted to Brisbane.
Two nursing homes were evacuated.

People in North Bundaberg were isolated as roads and bridges closed and about 1500 people were winched from rooftops by 14 helicopters and 2 nighthawk army helicopters equipped with night vision capabilities worked through the night.

Mud 3Over 3000 houses and 300 businesses were submerged or partly submerged. 

People who had never been flooded before were inundated.  Those who moved treasures to higher parts of the house, based on previous floods, lost all.

As the river peaked and receded, people on the southern side of the river began their heart-wrenching clean-up.  Many had only the clothes they were wearing and thoughts of recovering anything from the mud quickly vanished.  A “mud army” of volunteers helped to throw out all possessions and hose out the horrible mud.

Mud 4Yesterday, the army arrived to start work in North Bundaberg.  What greeted them is beyond description.  Everything was dark brown – covered in that thick, smelly, dark mud.

Roads were washed away.
One road has a 2 metre (6 foot) deep, 100 metre long sinkhole.
Sewerage and plumbing lines are broken in many places.
Power lines are down.
Many houses were lifted from their foundations and carried distances by the current.
One was found on a road intersection, rammed into a light pole.
Heaps of broken, tangled timber and sheets of iron are all that is left of some houses.
Cars and trucks are mangled messes.
In some places, the road moves under foot.
The main traffic bridge, connecting North Bundaberg to Bundaberg has a gaping hole across the two lanes.
The other bridge is not open.
The rail bridge is closed because the lines are buckled.

The whole area is a dangerous disaster zone.  Only the army and officials are allowed in.  Those evacuated from North Bundy do not know the fate of their homes. While it is hoped that some areas might be able to be seen by the occupants within a few days, it will be in a guided group for a limited time only.  It could be months before North Bundaberg is open and years before it is back to ‘normal’.  Bundaberg has an enormous task of rebuilding all the infrastructure.

Please pray . . .
7,500 people were evacuated.
About 5000 are still in evacuation centres or cared for in private homes.
Over 3,000 houses and 300 businesses were submerged.

Many houses were completely destroyed and many others have lost all their possessions.

Many are elderly and the trauma is a dreadful strain.

UPDATE
I should add that while Bundaberg was undoubtedly the hardest hit, almost all of Queensland was badly affected, as well as northern New South Wales.  Many inland towns and communities were badly affected, including Gayndah and Mundubbera, and many suffered crop and livestock losses as well as flood damage to their homes.  Brisbane and Ipswich, inundated two years ago braced for the worst but escaped with much less damage than expected. Laidley and Logan suffered badly.

I would also add that we live in a high and dry area and haven’t been affected in any way – except for the heartache for friends, some of whom live over North Bundy.  Hopefully, they will be allowed a brief visit tomorrow to see the condition of their homes.  It was just announced that twelve houses will have to be demolished and thirty more are in need of very extensive repairs.

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About meetingintheclouds

I am Cloudwatcher, a 76 year old Christian lady, happily married to a wonderful man for over 50 years. We have five wonderful sons, all with at least one University degree and in top positions in their chosen fields. One son is still single but four have found perfect wives and they have given us five lovely grandchildren. I was born in England and while I'm proud of my English heritage, I am doubly proud to be a true-blue, fair-dinkum Aussie. My husband and I are committed Christians whose first priority is to love and serve our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. My life story will tell of my journey from abuse to peace. I suffered 22 years of abuse, being constantly told I was totally evil and an ugly freak: no one would ever want me, so I might as well do the world a favour and kill myself.
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20 Responses to HEARTWRENCHING – City of Charm becomes city of devastation

  1. Angela, the pictures coming from down under are daunting. One can only pray that the victims find comfort in Christ.

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    • Thank you Noel. I have friends over north, not in the flood zone, and they say that driving through the area is much, much more heartbreaking than seeing it on TV.

      About 50 houses are/will be demolished and many more are extensively damaged. Some are/will be gutted, because after being submerged in the water/mud/sewage, the inside walls and in some cases the ceilings, are destroyed. About 3000 are still unable to return home.

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  2. Anna Popescu says:

    I’ve been praying about this and you and your family ever since you told me about this, Cloudwatcher. So sad that so many people have been hit so hard by this devastation. I’m thankful you are doing well, though, and will keep praying for all the survivors of this storm.

    Blessings!
    ~Anna

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  3. Rob Barkman says:

    Praying. So thankful you have been protected. May the Lord richly bless those in need and remind us all of the need to trust in Him for all things. May the Lord continue to bless you.

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    • Thanks Rob. Our whole Church service this morning was prayer and praise. Thirteen Church families live over North Bundy and have been affected by the flood. They say the stench from the mud/water/sewage is unbelievable. Please pray also that Christians will use every opportunity to show the love of God to those who are so devastated.

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  4. Wayne Augden says:

    I will pray for them, Angela.

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  5. Debbie says:

    Thank you, dear Angela, for letting us know of all the terrible flooding, tornadoes, and damage done. 20 inches of rain . .. I just can’t imagine. Praying with you for those who have suffered such loss from this and for those who are traumatized from it too. love and hugs, long distance.

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    • Thanks Debbie. Even emergency service people who have been through similar floods before say this is beyond belief. The mud and the stench and the damage are unbelievable. People have lost everything, but thankfully no lives were lost, except for one elderly man who drowned trying to help save a friend’s boat. The waters rose so quickly and so swiftly there could have been much more loss.

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  6. snowgood says:

    Incredible, and no mention on our news here in Britain.

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    • Stephen our Church service this morning was one given to prayer and praise. Thirteen of our Church families live over North Bundy and were affected to some degree. Many still have no power. One lady who had 20cm water/sewage/mud through her house was in Church. She said the stench was unbelievable. She was not in a ‘flood area’ and not as badly affected, but lost a lot. Her power will be restored this week, after being checked.

      Most of North Bundy and many in other parts are still without power. It is believed it could be many months before some will be able to return. Twelve houses are demolished and thirty more too dangerous to allow people in.

      Pray that Christians will use opportunities presented to them to show the love of God in practical ways.

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  7. admin says:

    Praying for them.

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  8. barb19 says:

    This is awful Angela, and my heart goes out to the people of Bundaberg. I have a few friends who live there who have lost everything. I believe Burrum Heads was hit by the same six tornadoes and suffered much loss of property with rising flood waters. It’s a catastrophe all over the whole region. Were you affected?

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    • Hi Barb. Yes, more tornados hit further down the coast. Bargara and Burnett Heads copped them here. One man was killed helping friends to secure a boat. A couple were critically injured when a tree fell on their car, but they are OK now. I fear some of the elderly who have lost everything will never recover. It is so traumatic for them, and when they see what has happened, it will hit them hard.

      We have several friends who live over North, including a wonderful 94 year old lady who was evacuated twice – once to a friend’s house and then they had to be evacuated too.

      We are high and dry here. We didn’t go sightseeing, obeying the call to keep off the roads, but had to go out yesterday for supplies and we were astounded at just how far and how deep the waters had reached – areas previously thought OUT of flood areas.

      Was there any damage near you?

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      • barb19 says:

        Not in my vicinity – the lake behind us burst it’s banks but the water didn’t reach us. Other areas copped it though, like Mount Tamborine and Logan.
        I was wondering how you were up there, so good to hear you are ok. x

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        • I saw pics from Mount Tamborine. I’ve been there, conducting children’s and teens camps many times – a beautiful spot. It seems most of the damage there was fallen trees.

          Myles has had a number of heart attacks. He is on maximum medication but surgery is out of the question because of the condition of the heart/arteries etc. He is coping well. I know what to watch for and what to do and as long as he doesn’t try doing what he shouldn’t (and he does) he’s OK.

          We are off for a short break in Sydney soon. Our “baby” is coming to baby-sit us.

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  9. Yes that is a disaster! I will say a prayer for them.

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