While the focus in Evans Head is on getting food and fuel into the town and cleaning-up, the harrowing flood experiences the community went through remain.
And will for a long time.
Kerrie-Anne Maunder and her family live at nearby Rileys Hill which is still an island surrounded by floodwaters.
Kerrie-Anne said watching her child standing at the end of their street is something she won’t forget.
“Water nearly covering the giveway sign, listening to so many pleas for help, the water still rising, waving off Jeff (her partner) to go back out into the flood waters to grab more people and families off roofs, off balconies, off small hill mounds,” she said.
“Those boys and many others risked so much going through some very hectic and fast moving water to save many.
“Lifting things up higher for people, doing a food supply run, trying to save a cow, jumping off to stay stranded on a little dirt mound while a mum got off the mound and onto the boat with her children.”
It was hard watching him go, Kerrie-Anne said.
Like many residents in Coraki, Woodburn and Broadwater, Kerri-Anne is unhappy about how the flood crisis was managed.
“After speaking with the SES, Kevin Hogan’s Office contacted me about our concerns. I spoke about the lack of logistical management happening here: literally Facebook has been a lifesaver in the rescues and pleas for food delivery.
“Without Facebook, many would have died or would be starving and badly dehydrated.”
Kerrie-Anne said community members had to generate donations of helicopters and boats to get food delivered to isolated people in the area.
“I spoke of the whole area being extremely low on food with shopping centres nearly bare of food. I spoke of the lack of people on the ground, SES are volunteers, and of course our own community, they would be exhausted by now and cannot be everywhere at once.”
Her grief and despair about the situation turned to the government.
“The fires were just another story much the same.”
“We need more from our government, and it’s hard standing by watching them ‘lead’,” she said ironically.
Once the flood crisis becomes manageable, the communities will be asking more questions of their governments and the assistance, or lack of it, they received when they needed it most.
This article appeared on indyNR.com on 5 March 2022.