I love a sunburnt country…

A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror.
The wide brown land for me.

Australia has been my home for the majority of my life. We are a nation of extremes but I agree wholeheartedly with Dorothea Mackeller’s description and love of Australia. Our country is a mixture of urban and country living with beautiful coasts lining the borders and the tropics up north. But as Dorothea has said, “with her beauty comes her terror”.

Two years ago I watched Queensland, the state I have called home for 12 years, fall victim to the cruelty of Mother Nature. During the 2010/2011 summer period, the majority of Queensland and parts of northern New South Wales flooded as a result of heavy rainfall following the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Tasha. The flood claimed 35 lives and destroyed countless homes and properties all over the two states. Weeks later and the northern parts of Queensland were once again hit with another natural disaster in the form of Cyclone Yasi. Businesses and families lost everything they had, and the clean-up effort was not only costly but also extensive.

Two years on and this summer has been met with ravaging fires, tropical storms following the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and as a result, flooding. While the damage thus far in most of the state isn’t as widespread as it was two years ago and the peaks of the flooding have been less than expected, the emotions that come with it are just as big. Families and businesses are once again losing their homes and four people have already lost their lives. For those in Bundaberg, it is the biggest flood the town has ever seen. Despite the hardship that comes with the storms and flooding, the spirit that was there two years ago is already evident in towns such as the Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and in suburbs around Brisbane today as the clean-up efforts begin.

For those of us in Queensland, let’s reunite the Mud Army and don our gumboots, shovels and brooms once more to clean up the state we all love. Lend a hand to your neighbours and to your community and help out where possible. If your area was lucky enough to escape the devastation from the floods like mine was but you still want to help out, contact Volunteering Queensland – you can register here.

For those in other parts of the country wishing to help out, donations no matter how small can be made to the Red Cross Flood Appeal by calling 1800 811 700 or visiting the website and making a donation.

And of course, thank you to the power and phone companies who have been working tirelessly to fix the communications and power problems as well as clearing the thousands of trees and other damages caused by the storm. And a big thank you to the police, ambulance service, fire and rescue service, state emergency service and the thousands of volunteers for all your hard work ensuring the safety of others.

Original article can be found here

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