Today is the national day in Australia, but for many it won't be much of a party atmosphere. The government is talking about introducing a very controversial one off tax to help pay for the flood clean up. Billions have been lost through crops being ruined and mines (particularly coal) being inundated. The money to restore buildings and livelihoods must come from somewhere, and diverting funds from other projects is inevitable.
(the trees have seen better days).
No mail today...snakes or ducks are about the only things Wendy Pfeffer is likely to find in her letterbox. (The picture shows Wendy at a roadside mailbox, up to her waist in water, which stretches for many metres all around her.)I'm sorry I can't show you the pictures, but the Sentinel is so small a concern that it doesn't even have a website. The paper says that the winter grain crop losses in southern Queensland are estimated to be around $200 million and it is too early to assess the damage to the summer crops, but about 50% have been flooded. Local farmers also pointed out that equipment has been seriously damaged, as well as the transport infrastructure of roads and rail. The local council estimate the road repair bill will hit $10 millon and farmers report that items such as rollers, hay bales and fuel tanks have been carried up to 4 km by the floodwaters. The government is holding seminars throughout the flooded districts to advise people on available assistance, farm financial counselling and community services.
Self-mulching...Kevin and Vicki Bond's prizewinning garden at Pampas was just one of many inundated after Christmas. Three months ago the garden won the small homestead section of the Carnival of Flowers competition. (The picture shows some attractive small green weeping trees standing in a pond of dirty water and surrounded by a slurry of mud covered loose plant material dumped by the flood.)
Road closed - Perrier's Gully became a raging torrent on December 27. Cattle from the high school's agricultural farm were seen swimming, along with foxes to the safety of higher ground earlier in the day. The unrelenting force of the water took fences out with it. (The photo shows fast flowing water perhaps 100m across a gully that is normally dry.)
dingoes are now completely naturalised wild dogs.
The egrets are fishing on a flooded road.
Most of the figures quoted above are for an area very similar to our own département of Indre et Loire. The main (only) city is Toowoomba, about the same population as Tours, the main occupations are rural, the town my parents live in is about the same population as Preuilly and situated about the same distance from the city. In the weeks just prior to this flood there was serious flooding further north and similtaneously the area to the east, including the state capital, Brisbane, flooded. The European news was reporting the event as covering the equivalent of France and Germany combined, but in Australian terms, it was at first a single state in the north, Queensland. Now the southern states are copping it. We thought the fires last year were bad, but this flood has turned into the worst natural disaster Australia has ever experienced (in economic terms if nothing else).
if it's wet it's a raging torrent.
Our blogger friend Thirsty Kirstie, who has had rather an exciting time of it herself, is proposing that, since the year has begun so badly, we just ditch January 2011 and start again. She would like everyone to 'join' her at 18:00 on January 30, no matter where you are or what you are doing and have a drink to the new new year. Yippee - that means popping open a nice bottle of Vouvray at 9:00 on Sunday for us.
PS The Sentinel also had a small piece on my mother's 80th birthday party, brilliantly organised as a surprise by my father, who thought of everything. Except... perhaps they should have told my sister and I about their third daughter. It was in the paper, so it must be true.