Thursday, April 30, 2015

After the storm....

Last week, our area was struck by a massive storm. Winds of up to 135 km per hour and driving rain, more than a monthly average overnight. Most our neighbourhood and many others were without electricity and phone coverage for four or five days, with some areas hoping to have power restored today after ten days. In other places, there was flooding and some towns have been isolated with some roads still impassable.  Today our local newspaper The Newcastle Herald published a special tribute to the "storm troopers" - emergency services  and volunteers who are still working day and night to try to put communities back together. I know that this localised disaster seems insignificant next to the earthquake in Nepal, but here are the numbers which make it real for those who are suffering in our own community.  These are some of the storm statistics as published:
- 7 fatalities
- 90 rescues
- 250,000 calls to Ausgrid (electricity)
- 5200 calls to Sate Emergency Services in one day
- 3409 Triple 0 calls in nine hours in one day
- 100+ school closed
- 11 metre waves recorded
- 45,000 bottles of water delivered
- 100,000 phone lines down
- 41,500 insurance claims
- $295 million estimated damage

We were very fortunate and had electricity, phone and wi fi facilities throughout, with only minor damage to our garden, so we were in a good position to offer friends and neighbours  "charging" facilities. It turned into such a social time, with friends dropping in for a chat and sharing a meal while waiting for electronic devices to be charged  or washing to be done. Perhaps it shouldn't take a disaster for such friendly get-togethers  to happen?

Although we didn't need any of the emergency services, I can see and appreciate what a fantastic and almighty job they have done in the area  and  offer my own personal thanks to all of the volunteers and emergency workers ... "every single one of them did so for the good of the community, for the good of us..."  from The Newcastle Herald 30.4.15.  Five thousand "thank yous" including mine, were published today and I am repeating the thanks here - great work, Hunter volunteers!

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