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Not enough when preparing for the worst

Not enough when preparing for the worst

Lismore (New South Wales, Australia), Report

It looks like a haunted city. Restaurants, shopping malls, banks, offices … In Lismore, everyone closed shop. And it has been over two months. On February 28, the city was submerged. She never knew Flood of such magnitude. On March 30, she Again affected by flooding. Today, on the almost deserted streets, only construction workers, electricians or traders still act as traumatized citizens are active, raising the river to 14.4 meters, destroying homes and the entire neighborhood, and killing more than a dozen people. People in the country. But everyone was ready for it.

In Lismore, a city of 45,000 in the north of the state of New South Wales, life seems to be sticking to its last hope in the city center. As the latter caused more suffering, it was flooded with many reconsiderations, and the question now arises as to whether to leave it rather than rebuild it.

In Lismore, more than a month after the second flood of 2022, debris is still littering the streets. © Leo Russell / Reporter

It will take a minimum Three or four years before the city was reclaimed According to Steve Creek, the mayor and owner of Downtown Cafe since 2021. More than a month after the second flood of the year, Lizmore is beginning to recover. Garbage and rubbish still pile up on the roadsides. Nearly 3,000 homes are uninhabitable, some businesses Will not reopen .

Lismore, eternal flood

Built on the edge of the confluence of two rivers, Leicester Creek and Wilson’s, Lismore is marked by flooding. The city is built on a bedMargaret Cook, a historian who specializes in the history of natural disasters in Australia, explains. The rivers were good for trade and navigation. But due to its location, the city is flooded a lot.

So at the end of February, when It rained heavily On the northeast coast of Australia, the situation in Lismore seemed normal. People knew the city would be submerged and prepared for it, contrary to custom. Houses have been upgraded and shops are located on several floors in the city center. All are designed to withstand flooding. We live in a flood and we understand the dangers Says Steve Creek.

Most businesses in the city center have closed and some will not reopen. © Leo Russell / Reporter
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The city experienced its most important chapters in 1954 and 1974, when the water level in the river rose to about 12.15 meters. In 1999, when the river level rose from 10.60 to 10.95 meters, it was decided to build a dyke to prevent water from entering the city center. A work completed in 2005 left the city center dry during several episodes of rising rivers. But on March 31, 2017, during the new heavy rains, the water level rose to 11.59 meters and overflowed, more than the dam. Flooding across the city. The most important event in Lismore for forty-three years … and the first alarm.

Chris and Victoria Hedge’s house in South Lismore, near the confluence of two rivers, was flooded. © Leo Russell / Reporter

Improved prevention after 2017

People think that if the dam is built and the dam is built, there will be no more floodsMargaret Cook, historian continues. A form of complacency sometimes sets in.

Still after 2017, Studies Led to new preventive measures taken in Lismore, as well as revised evacuation or flood preparedness plans. Because every family and business has an individual plan, it varies according to the location in the city, the height of the land and so on.

In the heart of the city, sandbags, whose activity has been wasted, are still on the sidewalks. © Leo Russell / Reporter

After 2017 they were revised in detail , The mayor promises. These projects, Must be installed on a site The state emergency services have precautions to be taken in case of rising river levels and guidelines to be followed in case of discharge. For businesses in the city center, it may be possible to move their inventory and equipment to the second floor Details Mayor.

Flooding in Lismore is normal, but it’s not like that

Recommendations that many citizens should complete by making their own arrangements. Jade Page has been living in Lismore with his family since 2019. The interior of his house, built on stilts, was taken entirely by water. The day before we had put everything on our balcony. There was nothing under the houseShe says. If we had to leave, we had a kayak.

Jade Page thought his house would not flood, but the water finally reached the balcony. © Leo Russell / Reporter
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Equip yourself with a rescue boat selected by many residents considering the number of boats, kayaks or zodiac signs in the gardens. But some expect to actually use them. Our house is on the edge of the flood zone, so it escapes minor floodingJade continues. Everyone said when buying “The water goes down”.

Despite the height of their home, Chris and Victoria Hedge have to rebuild the entire interior. © Leo Russell / Reporter

On February 28th, the kayak served well. Leaving home alone, Jade’s husband had to leave at midnight and had to help her neighbor. A little further on, Victoria and Chris Hedge’s house was flooded despite the height. There was some water in it in 1974, not in 2017 , First describes Victoria from Belgium. When the couple invested in this home in 2019, they expected little flood to be inside. But this time the water almost rose to the ceiling, destroying the entire interior. Lizmore flooding is not bad, it’s normal, but not to this extent She continues.

There is still water stagnant in the streets. © Leo Russell / Reporter

Events “ More often

For Ellie Bird, a member of the Municipal Council and a member of the Commission dedicated to flood management, the current priority is to help residents find the roof over their heads. A solidarity movement unites more than 30,000 people A Facebook group, Is also central to supporting their reconstruction efforts. But it is time to think about the future of the city. People care about Lismore, but we need to support the decisions they make to stay safe , She explains. And one of the ways studied To help some get out of the flooded area By relocating some houses.

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A reflection on the future, in particular, is triggered by anticipation of the possible Frequent occurrences of this nature Ellie refers to the bird as foretold Recent reports Climate experts. It is clear that continuous rainfall and flooding are associated with global warming. Says Kate Strott, who runs a creative studio in the city.

Faced with the frequency of natural disasters in Lismore, some residents are condemning the Australian government’s climate inaction. © Leo Russell / Reporter

But in an abrasive country, already in the grip Fire two years ago, Some do not like the inaction of the government on the issue of climate. When he arrived in Lismore on March 9, Prime Minister Scott Morrison was present Were arrested by residents and protestersThe government is calling for awareness and improved alert systems on this issue.

But for many, like the mayor, citizens recognize it Lizmore had never been so better prepared To deal with the flood. Thanks to the reaction of the residents of the city and the surrounding areas who came to the rescue during the evacuation, the city was undoubtedly spared even more human numbers. Victoria Hedge promises him: Hundreds of lives would have been lost if civilians had not taken their boat to rescue others. Hundreds.

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