Flood Watch Part II
Yesterday we got this picture sent to us. It's (obviously) from the floods in Brisbane, and (even more obviously) a result of cabin fever brought on by being holed up at home too long. We called up the picture taker to get his take on the state of affairs.
Vice: How’s it going up there?
Tom Cole: Yeah, it’s been kind of crazy because where we live is pretty dry, but 200m the other way is all water. Right up to where we took that photo is all totally underwater and we’re totally high and dry. Brisbane is really hilly but with hills you get valleys so there are all these houses down there getting hit. It’s terrible.
What was it like when the river broke?
Well it had been raining for the whole of last week, pretty much. Really heavy rain everyday. Then Wivenhoe Dam got to like 112% capacity so they had to release some of the water. So yesterday, we were all sort of drinking and waiting around for it all to come down. They said on the news it was like, two Sydney Harbour’s worth of water.
Fuck. Were you stressed out?
Yeah. But we have this old lady living next door who was here during the last big flood in ’74. She’s literally been living in the same house for like, 50 years, so she kind of gave us the lowdown on what was going to happen. She was like, last time it came up to the third telephone pole in our street and that her house was OK, it just flooded the bottom of it a bit.
Did it reach the same point?
I think it missed the ‘74 mark by something like two metres.
So what’s it like living in a sunken city?
Yesterday was weird because it was kind of the first sunny day we've had in at least a couple of months. So it was like this crazy flooded metropolis with this beautiful blue sky, and all these people walking around in a daze. And everything’s so quiet. You get accustomed to a city being this busy place but at the moment there’s minimal cars and hardly anyone around. Then there’s things like that big floating walkway, did you see that?
What, that River Walk thing that dislodged from the banks?
Yeah, that is seriously just floating out to sea now. Crazy!
So I take it you’re off work now?
Yeah, I work at a restaurant and that’s been closed for days because my boss is from xxxx which was hit hard pretty early.
When do you go back?
Saturday I think. I’m not sure how it’s going to work though because obviously we get all our produce from up north.
What’s the food situation like at your house?
Well, we’re stocked up in terms of tobacco and cans of spaghetti. I kind of got to the supermarket late, hours after the initial rush. By the time I got there it was basically empty. I just grabbed stuff like packets of pasta, stuff I thought would get us through a couple of days.
Do you have beer?
Yeah we got beer, so that’s OK.
Are people drinking much?
Yeah, people are drinking a bit. Lots of my friends are just kind of partying. Friends of mine in Balinga bagged up their house before the flood hit and just partied. Then at five in the morning when the tide came up and they saw it wasn’t going to reach their house they figured it was OK to go to sleep.
And your family?
Well, my parents live about half an hour out of the city to the west, and their house is completely fine, but they’re also completely flooded in. So yeah, they’re OK but they have to wait for the water to subside before they can go anywhere. It’d be nice to be able to go see if they’re OK, or go out and try to help people, but we’re all kind of being told to stay inside. A man died trying to swim out to check on his mother yesterday and was sucked into a storm water drain. I guess we’ll be more involved in the clean up once the water goes down.
When will that be?
Well apparently there’s a chance we’ll get a cyclone. Not sure if that’s true or not but if we get that we’re really up shit creek.
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