{water} Brisbane Flood 2011

I don't really have any words to write. Cannot fathom how I feel about these floods that have ripped through our communities. 75% of the whole of Queensland State has been affected by these waters. Homes, businesses, belongings and most tragically of all, lives, have been lost as the rains and the water kept on coming. Kept on rising past the river banks, past the levies, past the front steps, past the roof-line of many many houses.

In our home, we are safe. As are the rest of my family and friends living in Brisbane. I feel blessed that we weren't in the flood lines. My sister's house had water come in underneath, but nothing seems to have been ruined too badly. The business where my husband works, in the city, was - still is - under water. The whole of Brisbane CBD is still in lock down, as the water stays not having anywhere to move to. 

I've started and abandoned many blog posts about this devastating natural disaster. I have felt heartwrenchingly useless. I have sat and watched 24-hr news, unable to tear myself away from the scenes of people's homes flattened.

We have walked about our streets. Seeing other people also walking - everyone has the same drawn, unbelieving, anxious face.

There are many news items, that you can read, if you want. If you live in another country perhaps you have seen some footage and know a little of what has been happening. Basically the many weeks of rain that this area has received has resulted in the biggest flooding disaster that Queensland, or even Australia, has ever seen. And there are more affected areas across other states - spreading down to NSW and Victoria. Reports of more king tides, mean that there is possibly more to come in the next weeks. 

What is to come now is the clean up. The city of Ipswich has already started to slow, tedious, terrifying job. Search and rescue workers are still looking for missing people - the horrendous job of looking through flood debris, cars, buildings..... hoping against all hope to find survivors. In Brisbane we are waiting for many more days for the water to recede. People are waiting, in evacuation centres, at friend's home, before they can go to their own homes to see what awaits them. 

There are many things I've noticed around the websites I normally read, of people doing the little things they can to help. First and foremost, donating money - any amount, even the $5 you would normally spend on your morning coffee. The Premiers Flood Appeal is probably the best place to donate (there are reports of scam charities, so beware). After you've donated money, you can help out in other ways too.

Monkeemoomoo is hosting a Dolly Drive, to make soft toys for local children who need a smile.
Bris-Style are holding a Handmade Ark Appeal, where you can buy directly from member's Etsy's shops with all money raised being donated.
Make It Perfect are hosting Auctions to raise funds, which start on Sunday.
RicRac is offering a beautiful giveaway - all you have to do to enter is make a donation to the appeal.
If you live anywhere near where rescue workers are, or people in evacuation centres, then do as Digella Emporium has suggested, and take some baked goodness (along with hand sanitiser) down to  SES, Police and other volunteers.

I suppose that any other donations - clothes, furniture, bedding, etc - will be well received at a later stage. Once people can move back into their homes, and assess the damage - and clean up all that stinky flood mud. 

I know, remembering other disasters in other communities, that it's the long term as much as the right now that matters. Look at your fabric stash, your bookshelf, your beautiful collection of vintage treasures and imagine it all g.o.n.e! For me, I think perhaps down the track a bit (once houses have been rebuilt) these may be the things that people will appreciate receiving. If you have fabric, yarns, knitting / crochet needles, books...... that you could part with to share with other people - perhaps you can start putting them aside for that day when someone in our community needs to have something to remind them anything other than the flood.
At this stage, I wouldn't know where to direct you to deliver or send these items - maybe in the next few weeks things will be clearer as to all the ways we can help.

I was really inspired by Anna Maria Horner's quilt drive, when her local community was affected by flooding last year. While I'm in no way a quilter, I am a sewer/crafter, and am trying to think of things that I can personally do to help someone (even just one family) start to rebuild their homes again. 

{All my belongings are currently packed into boxes, ready to move out of the city. And while I feel it's trivial of me to say that I can't unpack to start making quilts or dolls or any number of other things;  I also know that it's no use me promising to make something unless I physically can sit down and finish it. We do have lots of clothes, some furniture, kids books and soft toys that we will donate to whichever is the best place before we move. After that, I will start to make things as I can for people's homes - even a new cushion on their couch or a tea towel in their kitchen would be a welcome addition, I would think.}

*all photos taken either from the Green Bridge, UQ ST Lucia or Fairfield streets on 12th + 13th January, 2011.