It has been devastating watching the catastrophe unfold in the city that I've grown to love. I've said before that this is the first place where I've truly felt settled. It's the city we chose to live in when deciding to emigrate, and we've never once regretted it. Many parts of Brisbane are now a disaster zone, including some of my favourite places. Of course buildings and places can be re-built; there's nothing that can be done to replace the lives that have been lost.

The heart and soul of Brisbane has been damaged and it's going to be a long time before things are back to normal.

When we've had visitors arrive from the UK, to give them a good taste of what's best about Brisbane we always used to drive to Bulimba or Hawthorne and take the CityCat catamaran service down the river, around the Central Business District (CBD), and get off at South Bank. The South Bank Parklands being my favourite place in the city.

The CityCat service has largely been destroyed. Not the catamarans as such, but the majority of the terminals. Similarly, South Bank Parklands have been inundated by the floods.

Riverside and Eagle St Pier, Brisbane
Brisbane flooding

Images courtesy of Channel 9

It looks like it's going to take 2 years to re-build the areas that are affected. It's going to be a long clean-up process requiring lots of resources. More than 26,000 homes and 5000 businesses in 67 suburbs have been affected. More than 150 roads remain closed and many part of the city are still without power.

We've been very lucky that we chose to move to the Redlands area. We did look at rental properties in Milton, Toowong and other inner-Brisbane suburbs which have been hit, but chose to move out here instead.

At work (the day job) we're also looking at what we can do to help out in the community. Our engineers are already hard at work helping out our customers who have been impacted. Many customers had to invoke their Disaster Recovery plans, and we've got quite a few customers who need help re-building their networks to get their business up and running again. Besides that I know a lot of us want to help out with the clean-up effort in the local community. Our office is near Fortitude Valley which has been impacted by the flood, but we're situated on a hill so the office is unaffected. We also haven't been hit by the power cuts.

I appreciate how lucky we've been that's why I want to help out as much as possible. Our Premier, Anna Bligh, who has been doing a sterling job, says that they need two things: volunteers and money. This couldn't come at a worse time for us if they want money. However, while we're short on cash I have been able to find another way that I can donate. Virgin Blue allows you to cash in your velocity points for cash donations. I've got plenty of those so that's what I've done. The page to make donations from Velocity Points is here (it's quite hard to find on their website). I've also signed up with Volunteering Queensland. The form for that is here.

It's very easy to start a new year and think about personal plans (see my last post). Then something like this comes along and puts it all into perspective.