On a expedition through northern New South Wales and south Queensland, Warren Murray fulfils locals arguing with the consequences of the Cyclone Debbie
Light to moderate traffic is easing along the Pacific motorway connecting the Gold coast and the Tweed, with no particular sign of cyclone injury or interruptions. But in Chinderah, merely inside New South Wales and merely off the highway, John Anderson is in full-tilt calamity recovery mode, arguing with the aftermath of the flooding rainfalls that ex-cyclone Debbie sent south.
At the Gateway Lifestyle Tweed Shores over-5 0s community, in between dealing here a flow of tradies coming in and out the office doorway Righto mate, do what youve gotta do, well pay for it Anderson describes how last week the sea went through likely 140 cabin-style homes in this complex that he manages.
On Thursday the tide satisfied the downstream flooding and we were inundated with a metre, metre and a half of sea not a flood, but slowly rising sea.
By Friday afternoon evacuation was well under way for those occupants happy to go.
Gas bottles ripped off their moorings, leaking gas, energy in mansions filled with salt water, Anderson recollects. By 10 oclock Saturday night the park was basically isolated and only accessible by rubber ducky. He and his wife, Beth, opted to stay and keep an eye on things, sleeping on foam mattresses on the upper degree of their manufactured home, with sea swilling around on the storey below, until they could get off and about to assess the damage.
Days afterwards, theres still so much to be done before things even faintly resemble normality. A jotting on the desk blotter mentions Copper gas line missing run. Andersons mobile echoes and flashes up the caller details: Shade Sail Andrew.
Out front of the park is a stack of destroyed possessions that stretches for maybe 100 metres down the road. It represents in a lot of cases everything that people own, or did own. The villas are about 85% privately owned, 15% rented. Some people are insured, a lot are not because of the cost, being flood-prone.
Anderson lauds a magnificent replies from the community, the ones who are pitching in to help out. The dames from nearby Cudgen public school have been turning up with hot meat, and in the top bit of the Gateway park where the sea couldnt reaching we had dames there cooking sausage rolls and bringing them round. Just the most magnificent reply.