Linda McNeish, of Cooper Street in Laidley, is still cleaning after water flooded her home.
Linda McNeish, of Cooper Street in Laidley, is still cleaning after water flooded her home. David Nielsen

Livelihoods lost in floods

FOR thousands of Laidley residents, the devastation from flash flooding has left their livelihoods in tatters.

But through their camaraderie and dozens of offers of assistance, the small rural community is adamant itwill rebuild homes and businesses affected by the January 11 disaster.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council has reported more than 1000 homes in Laidley had been inundated with water and several businesses in the town’s main street were affected. Many were forced to shut for at least a fortnight.

The Laidley Chamber of Commerce said businesses in the region face multi-million-dollar losses.

Laidley business owner and resident Linda McNeish said the past few weeks had been “extremely difficult” after several feet of water inundated their family-owned computer business and home.

“We were ordered out of our home on that Tuesday morning when the water came through, but fortunately for us, we were able to move a lot of stock in our shop to higher ground before it went under,” Mrs McNeish said.

Despite the devastation of losing thousands of dollars worth of equipment and precious memories, Mrs McNeish said it was the community spirit that was helping the area rebuild.

“The people in the community have just been wonderful and the amount of help we have had from rural firefighters, SES and just volunteers offering help has been amazing,” she said.

“Council has been really great too.”

Mrs McNeish said the community acknowledged they were just one town impacted by the flash flooding that tore through the Lockyer Valley.

“We know how widespread this disaster is and are so grateful for all the help we have been getting.”

Lockyer Valley Regional Council Deputy Mayor Graham Moon, who also lives in Laidley, said the devastation across the Lockyer Valley had been “horrendous”, with the damage bill expected to reach in the hundreds of millions.

“The real magnitude of the event took place in the western part of the Lockyer Valley Regional Council area, but that is by no means taking away from the situation in Laidley and Forest Hill,” Cr Moon said.

“The situation in Laidley has been very serious, with floodwater causing major disruption to businesses, but fortunately there has been no loss of life in the town.”

Cr Moon said council was working around the clock to assist residents across the region. “We are offering ongoing support to people affected and we’ve put in place a recovery committee to target how we can help the whole region recover from this.”

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