QT journalist Melanie Maeseele stayed at the Gatton evacuation centre on Monday night.
QT journalist Melanie Maeseele stayed at the Gatton evacuation centre on Monday night.

Tears flow but tenacity shows

EVERY man and his dog piled into evacuation centres across the Lockyer Valley as the region’s flood crisis worsened.

More than 500 residents piled into centres in Gatton and Helidon as a wall of water swept across the region on Monday with unimaginable force.

House after house was washed downstream as the torrent of water forced fear into residents and left onlookers stunned.

Heavy downpours yesterday only increased the severity of what was already a huge natural disaster.

Those fortunate enough to be rescued from either their rooftops or homes were taken to the two main crisis centres, the Gatton Shire Hall and Gatton Sports Centre.

As I walked through the halls sombre faces surrounded me – each person grateful to be alive.

Young families, crying toddlers, the elderly and the farmer with his cattle dog in tow filed into the centres.

Tears of heartache filled the room as emotions ran at an all-time high. Despite the tears, people remained courageous, pulling together like true communities do.

People carried in mattresses from trucks, brought in loaves of bread, cheese and legs of ham to make sandwiches for the hungry.

The Lockyer Valley community is strong, and that was evident as people comforted one another, holding hands, playing cards and even enjoying a game of lawn bowls to help pass the time.

By dusk yesterday people began filling the makeshift beds as buses that were stranded on the Warrego Highway made their way to the centre.

Meanwhile sirens rang outside as more people rescued from stranded homes were rushed to safety.

I heard one woman say, “who would have thought one day there would be mattresses in the dance hall?”

But through these tough times the true community spirit shone through the grey clouds.



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