Two Tipperary natives are working on the recovery effort in the flooded Queensland town of Gatton.
Tanya Walsh (23) and Fiona Holleran (27) were in Gatton doing farm work and are staying in a house on Ada St.
Both say they feel like ‘the lucky ones’, though Fiona’s bedroom was flooded on Monday morning.
“The back room had all been flooded at around 5am that morning. We woke up with loads of thunder around 4am,” said Walsh.
Ada St was not evacuated, as it escaped the worst of the damage.
“There was so much water it looked like the cows were about to take off. There are sandbags everywhere and a lot of thunder. It’s quite daunting and frightening really,” she added.
“We just stayed at home but a lot of our friends were stuck in work at a meat factory outside Grantham. They were stuck there for two-and-a-half days.”
Grantham has been among the hardest hit by this week’s floods, with 12 people still missing. Police have now set up an exclusion zone and helicopters are searching the area. No bodies were found during a search of the towns railway bridge this afternoon, according to Queensland Police.
“We went out for a drive near Grantham and you could just see dead horses floating past and washing machines and cars,” said Walsh.
“Seeing all the damage in Grantham, houses gone away and cars piled up on top of each other … it’s very daunting. It’s not a nice scene to be seeing, especially when they are still trying to find bodies,” added Holleran.
“Today, we were out near enough to Laidley and the main roads have been lifted off the ground and put over to the sides [by the current]. The tarmac has been lifted,” she said.
The women are now working with a company helping to tear up ruined carpets and linoleum in waterlogged houses in Grattan and nearby Esk.
They say that people in Gatton remain positive and are helping one another, though many are elderly and have never experienced flooding before. They plan to stay in Gatton and help with the recovery effort for another week.
“You just can’t help feeling that we were one of the lucky ones,” said Holleran.
The latest death toll from the floods in Queensland stands at 15.
By Luke O’Neill
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