Archived News Item

Floods in Queensland and Northern New South Wales

The extraordinary scale of the floods in Queensland and Northern New South Wales are not only leaving thousands of people homeless but, sadly, lives have been lost while many people are currently missing. 75% of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone.

Berneice Loch rsm  writes from Rockhampton:

In Rockhampton (Central Queensland) the Fitzroy River has been above major flood levels for 10 days and there is extensive flooding in the Fitzroy catchment area as well as in Bundaberg. The Rockhampton airport is expected to remain closed until at least 28 Jan. There has been extensive damage to many homes and businesses and in the agricultural section. Recovery will take many months. We are very grateful that all our Sisters are safe and we are doing the little we can to help out. Thank you for your prayers and support. Berneice Loch rsm

Barbara Bolster rsm  writes from Grafton:

Thank you for your concern for the sisters in Grafton. The Clarence River continues to rise and at this stage the weather bureau has not been able to make an accurate estimate of the expected peak, we do expect it to be very high.

The water has just started to trickle over onto our top terrace, this morning we did some sand bagging of the doors of the archives as a precaution, please God the river will soon stop rising. Of course the farmers further down-stream are experiencing inundation of their properties, over the last few days they have been moving stock to higher ground. Some of the villages have been evacuated, and some houses have been flooded. Further up river in the village of Tabulam a number of Indigenous communities have been evacuated. So far Grafton itself is flood free – the levee bank will keep out a flood of 8 metres, some estimate the peak will be very close to that.

While this is a major flood for the Clarence it cannot compare with what has happened and continues to happen in Queensland, our hearts are with these people. All of the sisters are safe and well, a number are away from home and may have difficulty returning over the next few days but they are not in any danger. I’m sitting on the balcony watching the river ‘rage’ by carrying much debris but also plastic wrapped bales of hay from some farmer’s property, there will be many losses. Thank you again for your concern, we just need the rain to stop!   Barbara Bolster rsm

Sandra Lupi rsm  writes from Brisbane and South East Queensland:

Thank you for the many expressions of support and prayers for the welfare of our Brisbane sisters.
All are safe but one or two houses in Brisbane would be damaged by floods. We can’t ascertain the damage as yet as we can’t access the houses by road.
Some sisters are without electricity but this is a small inconvenience compared to what many families are suffering at this time
We had to postpone the funeral of one of our dear sisters –Sr M Etienne Flynn- because of the floods and we hope we can celebrate her funeral early next week .
Sandra Lupi rsm

Further update

In Brisbane this morning the extent of the devastation was evident with 36,000 homes inundated and many business severely flooded. 118,000 homes are without power and the city shut down. Regional Queensland is also devastated and will take many months to recover.

As the Premier Ms Anna Bligh has just announced ‘There is a lot of grief and a lot of pain’ but she praised the extraordinary work of the emergency staff who have saved lives and who are keeping the shelters staffed. The Premier went on to say ‘We have seen the best in people and now we have an avalanche of people offering to help…

As we weep for what we have lost and we grieve for family and friends …this weather may break our hearts but it will not break our wills …. we will come through this together’.

Mindful of the people of Queensland and Northern NSW we continue to pray for them and for all the people in regions affected by these devastating floods in Australia.