Never has this felt so true... watching from Singapore, the devestation, heartache and regrettable loss over past weeks (and culminating over recent days) in my beloved home State of Queensland in north eastern Australia, I have somehow managed to go about my business - but worry and concern for my family and friends, without having the ability to do anything has left me completely empty inside.
The Australia Network (Ch 403, Starhub) has been covering the disaster 24/7 and our TV has not changed channels for days... We've seen the entire spectrum from tragedy (like the family of three that were swept away in their house - although the mother was found clinging for her life to a tree many kilometres down-river, her school-teacher husband and their 7-year old child have still not been found... reports are that some of the still missing victims may never be found... in one case the body was found 80km from where the man was washed away)... to bravery (like the man who risked his life to run onto a railway bridge after hearing the screams of a lady clinging to the top of her car as it was catapulted towards the bridge... just a split second before the vehicle was demolished, the lady jumped into the arms of this very heroic young man)... and now to 'true grit' - the 'Queensland spirit' is a by-product of the good 'ol 'Aussie spirit'. We are all mates, and the strength that Queenslanders are showing in the aftermath of the disaster is a lesson for the world.
After the worry for my Mum, my brothers and my sisters, and their children has subsided, I am just so proud of everyone - my younger brother for opening and offering his house as refuge for those that needed it... my younger sister for assisting at the local school where hundreds of mattresses were to be delivered for the evacuees.
Today, I have received so many emails, calls and messages on the internet and social networking to tell me of the atmosphere - almost one of rebirth - the sun was shining, people were bbq-ing and everybody was going about the business of cleaning up (a chore that will require a sh*tload of money, and a long, long time). Of course, as is the spirit, people whose homes were not affected were out there toiling side by side with the direct victims... "Mates taking care of Mates"!! You Little Bloody Beauty!!
Yesterday, when I posted on Facebook that I was helpless to offer a hand from all the way over here in Singapore, an old mate from school (sorry to call you old, Tracey - I mean 'a friend from years ago') suggested that I use my blog and the widespread readership and subscription to send the message of how to donate and offer support to the victims - of course, I don't know why I didn't think of it earlier - perhaps it's just brain freeze from the mind-numbing images on TV. (or maybe it's just brain freeze) :)
Anyway, that's what I'm doing - this unprecedented disaster is going to cost billions of dollars... and I am therefore pleading to all of my faithful readers and friends to give as best you can. There are a number of avenues where this can be done, and I have listed them out below:
Lifeline Qld Flood Appeal
Australian Red Cross
Queensland Government Flood Relief Appeal
Here as some examples of just some of the comments on Facebook, which have gripped my heart and today have really made my day and reminded me that the saying is in fact true - "You can take the boy out of Queensland, but you can't take Queensland out of the boy"!!
Like the slogan says - "Queensland - Beautiful One Day, Perfect The Next"... maybe not the weather these days, but definitely the people!!
Some unbelievable footage of the devestation - maybe much of it not seen here in Singapore: