Washed Out But Not Washed Up

Thursday, 3 February 2011

The Brisbane flood is first major disaster I’ve been directly involved in. We had a building I own that houses around 50 employees go under to 600mm off the ceiling of the second (top) story.

What did I notice:

• We failed to empty the building because we misunderstood the height and time of the peak that was broadcast the day before it flooded. So did nearly everyone.

• Lots of employees and businesses not connected in any way with the disaster “took time off”.

• Amazing business opportunities were missed like- mobile coffee vans, didn’t trade even though we had 1000s cleaning up.

• On clean up day the media, politicians and all those type of folk were on about everything other than our real issues which were a lack of gum boots, rubber gloves, and drums of disinfectant.

• The promises of grants/aid poured out – which often wasted our time as the unannounced hoops/ eligibility cut most people out.

• There is an amazing misunderstanding by people interstate and overseas that we were completely wiped out – they are all (still) scrambling to give money – which I doubt most people actually affected will ever see. Most of Brisbane went to work as normal – a couple of days after the flood receded, in the sense of the whole of Brisbane, it was pretty well back to normal.

• My real issues were commonsense – clean, dry, get the power on, set up alarm systems and air-conditioning – start business again. We achieved all this in 7 days. Haven’t seen an Insurance person yet.

Perhaps the biggest issue we face is a collapse in our local economy if everyone doesn’t get back to work and all the “free” supplies flooding us from interstate don’t send the local businesses broke.


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