Almost two month ago, on my first morning in Brisbane, I saw a news report about an olive oil and lemon shortage in Queensland. At that time, this seemed to be the most ridiculous news ever. Later that month, supermarkets pinned notes on fruit shelves apologizing about shortages or limited fruit selections due to floods. Before I came to Queensland, I had heard about bushfires, but I did not know about the floods or what it actually means when a region gets flooded.
A series of severe floods have been hitting Queensland during the past 4 years. Tropical Cyclones hit the region and cause massive rainfalls; rivers can not carry all the water, break the banks and flood the areas around it. Towns get destroyed, streets get flooded, people die, the coal, sugar and fruit industries suffers,…. Last week, a group of people from Bundaberg, a coastal town about 5 h from Brisbane, told me their stories about days without electricity, flooded roads, evacuation, being cut off from the rest of town for days, and about people having lost everything in the floods. Numerous houses were completely destroyed or swept away by the water; houses by people who can not claim money from their insurance, since insurances do not cover properties in flooded areas. Now, those people have to wait for flood relief from the government to rebuild homes and small businesses.
On the way to HerveyBay, which is only a short drive from Bundaberg, I was shown part of the area that was flooded only a couple of month ago. The Queensland railway is still warns about delays due to weather damage, my internet company excuses the lack of service with maintenance after the storm and my favorite avocados are still not on shelves.