I never thought I would see a disaster to this extent in my lifetime.

Where were you when it started?

Goonellabah

How were you affected?

My brother, mum and dad were trapped in Coraki, stranded due to the floods. We had friends and family live with us during their recovery. My family had a business that was destroyed as well as their house.

What was your experience?

Horrendous. In a constant state of anxiety about my loved ones lives and then after the flood how they were going to rebuild.

When the flood was rising my mum, dad and brother were trapped in a shed on a very high mound with 22 people.

They were rescued and taken to Coraki. In the weeks that followed it was very hard to get in contact with them as phone reception was not good.

While the flood clean up occurred in a Lismore I operated a home daycare centre from my house to assist my friends and neighbours with childcare while they went down to assist clean up.

I was unable to assist with clean up because I had a new baby that I couldn’t leave so I thought I could be more useful in this way instead. Some days I had 6 children other days I had 4. This was tiring.

My husband helped with clean up in Lismore and then once the water subsided to get to Coraki he spent a week down there cleaning up.

After the clean up lessened I began helping by restoring and recovering what I could from the photos. I also assisted my family in completing paperwork.

We had a family of 3 living with us for 1 week until they found alternative accomodation and then the in the 2nd week after the floods mum, dad and brother came to live with us, they are still here now as they don’t know where else they can live.

How did people in your community respond?

Our friends were amazing. We had so many people come out to support us. People came from the Gold Coast to help my parents clean up, bought them clothes and food and other resources. They even had people lend them cars so they could get around. The army and RFS were amazing support in the clean up and repair process. They visited over many days and assisted in a range of ways in the house and business.

What is your situation like now?

There are definitely waves of anxiety about the future. We still don’t know where my parents and brother will live. How they will make an income.

What are your feelings about what happened?

Disbelief. I never thought I would see a disaster to this extent in my lifetime. I honestly don’t know how people will rebuild their lives and how Lismore can rebuild. I know my family will never financially recover, this is worrying.

What is the memory you think you will hold with you in 10 years?

Seeing the heartbreak in my parent’s eyes. I have never seen them so broken.

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