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Another Rocky Flood Update

Posted by TravellingStrom on January 4, 2011

Well, last night was New Years Eve and for the first time in living memory(or that I can remember anyway πŸ˜‰ ) I was in bed early well before midnight, which was a big change from last year with Ingo and Cecelia in Potasi, Bolivia where we parttied till dawn. After getting home around 9pm last night, it was a quick shower and bed, because I was back on deck at 7am on the water, once again tasked with the Ergon boys. And once again it all went haywire pretty quick, but at least this time I managed to get the food to the table and have a few bites before the phone rang, someone has gone into the river, get down here now!!!! Of course, I sort of expected this as many drunks would be wandering around after last night, so we got down there and launched the boat in the same location, but a bit further up the street due to the river rising.

But, as soon as we got through the gates and onto the river, we were called via radio, the chap has made it to shore and has been arrested and will spend a bit of time in custody. Another person who did not drown, 2 in a row!!! Not much on for me after this, went for a cruise past the Float-el and then to the airport to swap vehicles as the troop carrier was needed for evacs. The barrier system was coming along nicely and they seemed to have covered a lot of distance, and that was thanks to the extra SES members brought in from up north, good onya πŸ™‚ The airport was still open, so there were intentional gaps to allow passengers through, but it would shut later today. There is a top layer of plastic liner, like a pool liner that goes over the metal sheets and is held on by clips and chain, I tried to get an after shot, but the water was too high for the Vstrom, so I dipped out!

Next task was to take one of the rural fire trucks and have them follow me as the local navigator. They had a high clearance vehicle, and as Depot Hill was now inaccessible by normal light vehicle, they would transport me, food and drugs across and bring back evacuees, who would then get in the troop carrier for transport to the Evac centre.

This next job was to supply some sandbags. I talked with the elderly owners of the lowset home to find out what they wanted, then I realised it would be pointless. They wanted to lay some sandbags along the ground at the bottom of the green picket fence where it butts up against the brick post/wall to stop water coming up from the right hand side. Once I had a look, I spotted the 1991 high water mark(previous flood) on the pole to the right of picture, we would need to build a 1 meter berm to stop the water which was impossible with the resources we had to hand. Instead, I had to advise them about ‘lift and shift’ which just means lift what you can onto other things and shift other stuff out. They had too much to move and too late to do it, but mainly two sets of furniture of theirs and their sons, they had already shifted their personal posessions to higher ground, but the house was chockers with furniture.. The water was just to right of picture and can be seen in the next shot when I went across and made sure the two horses werent stuck, they were good πŸ™‚

Some general flood shots, amazing what people will do when there is water around, but these were using the inflateables to shift gear etc, mostly, a bit of frolicking was happening also πŸ˜‰ The rail freight yard was shut down of course!

Next job was down by the river which had a high roadway, basically take the lady and her gear away to the evac centre. Most of the evacuations were needed because the power had been shut off to some of this suburb. Behind the car is the river.

Over the next few hours it was pick up in either the truck or a boat and do some midstream transfers, then shuttle them to the forward command post, for transportation to the evac centre, or to their family, animals were on the priority list as well, with plenty of RSPCA workers to lend a hand.

This lasted until around 7pm before heading back to our HQ and some well needed tucker. Not as late a finish as last night, but it does take it out of you, because the rain has gone and left hot humid days, ideal conditions for dehydration.


Another 7am start, once again to meet the Ergon boys and would you believe it, 3 days in a row and another dude went for a swim!!!! I was not involved in this search, but quite a few boats from different emergency services and a chopper scoured the river for a few hours before it was called off. Too many much needed resources were being used when there was no actual evidence that anyone went in, if he did, he has gone! My tasking was the same as yesterday, help out with evacuations using the firetruck and the troopy, no boat for me and a bit dissapointed about it too! This local hotel went and spent some dosh on building a dyke, and considering the cost of the renovations a few years back, well worth it I guess. The water is just at the edge on the left. So far!

The next few hours was spent taking a lady and her two cats from her home to the evac center, which involved finding some cat cages(the local pound was under water with all its cages), but this job was eventually done using the truck, the troopy and my parents cat cages πŸ™‚ There was an animal refuge set up at the local university and also some wildlife hanging around as well.

The next job was way over town on the citys entrance, but once we reached the turnoff the driver of the firetruck said no way, he does not trust the road edges and the truck weighed 17 tonne, so that job was reallocated to the boat crews.

Another local pub where they were all having a good time, I could do with one of those.

The Depot Hill forward command post, where the boats are launched and evacuees are brought out to for further transportation. Most of the time the boat is just walked down the street with gear and people because the water is a tad shallow for motor, but that will change as the water still has another 500mm to go apparently.

An early afternoon for me as I was getting fatigued and asked to be stood down. It has been a long week since Boxing Day and the trip to Theodore, so a few coldies and a chance to have dry feet would be great πŸ™‚ The northern crews had now been shown by some of our local crews where to take the boats, so the whole of Rocky SES needed a break, as the amount of callouts over the past 2 months, plus this flood, was taking its toll.

See ya in a few days
Travelling(by boat)Strom

2 Responses to “Another Rocky Flood Update”

  1. Craig said

    We are hearing a lot about this in the news. Quite a drenching out there! You are doing a great service to your countrymen!

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