The Devastating Effects of Floods…

Taylah C (Year 11), Chief Contributor

The townspeople of Wisemans Ferry are in a continuous cycle of extreme weather and devastation. The most recent floods mark the 4th flood that has occurred in the last 2 years, with another one predicted for December. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the area and interview some of the people that reside along the Lower McDonald River. 

Pamela Adams has lived on the river for the last 6 years of her life, expecting a blissful retirement, where she can share the ‘river-front’ view that her home has to offer with her family of water-skier’s. But her plans were forced to change. The hardest thing that she has ever had to overcome is the most recent flash flood that started on the 4th of July. 

“We had only just seen the light at the end of the tunnel coming out of the last flood, trying to clean our property and bring it back to a functional state.” 

On the morning of Monday 4th of July, the rainwater started to flood the block, the river was rising but there was still a distinct line between where the river water ended, and the rainwater began. However, at 5:15pm, the water from the river had risen and joined the rainwater and had now reached the back door of their house. Only 5 minutes later, the water had made its way inside the lower level. Pam and her husband, Brian, stayed up until early the next morning putting everything that they could higher onto the shelves of their upper story, trying to save as much as they could. There was no fresh water, no electricity, no gas, and nowhere to go.  

“There was so much water with not a drop to drink.”

The next morning came as an extreme shock when they woke up and saw the water had risen halfway up the stairs and continued to rise rapidly. At 8:20 in the morning, the water was only 50cm from reaching the top floor, which was slightly lower than the March floods that occurred earlier this year. At 5-to-7pm, the water was level with the top of the stairs and the main living area and had covered the newly renovated deck outside. At 8:36pm that night, water was seeping through the walls and the floor, soaking the carpets and floorboards.  

The water was unpredictable and rising fast once more, and for Pam and Brian’s safety, they left their house, got into their car, drove up the road, and slept there for the night. Unfortunately, due to landslides and the road damage from the previous floods, there was no way in or out.  

“I am pretty resilient, but my resilience tank has run very low during the last few weeks.”

The next morning, the water had started to reside. The upper level of the house was covered in mud and the furniture was wet. Most possessions were ruined, and only extreme necessities were taken with the couple as they were evacuated by the Rural Fire Service.  

Devastatingly, they cannot call their residence their home anymore. Due to the damage and moisture, everything in their house must go, including carpets and furniture, to prevent mould and attempt to get as much mud out as possible. What was their precious home, is now a burden for them to clean-up.  

When asked what was the most precious belonging that was lost, Pam said, “I am a sentimental person. So, when everything that I had kept… was destroyed in the floods, I didn’t know what to do. I had to throw it all away and not even look at it. It was too hard to even look at it.”  

Pam is also someone who loves to work in the garden and make it look nice. Over the course of their residence, she has “moved every rock, planted every plant. We turned the soil and laid turf. We planted trees and made veggie gardens…” And when asked, what was it like to lose your garden in the first flood? She described it in one word, “Devastating.” It cannot be imagined how broken she must feel after losing it for a fourth time.  

As Pam said, she is quite a resilient person and helping her get through these terrible conditions, she is thinking of other people who are worse off than her.  

“We are very blessed to have our family and support in our lives. And that is more important that all the material things [that we have lost] … it’s a cliché but it is what it is.”

So, with crossed fingers, we pray that the residents of Wisemans Ferry and other flood-affected communities are able to receive the help that they need to continue to push through yet another flood, restore their homes and gardens, and remember the rainbow after the rain.