As you are probably aware, several weeks ago the Northern Rivers experienced catastrophic flooding that has had a significant and devastating impact on the community; destroying land, homes and businesses… stretching all the way from Tweed right down to Evans Head (and impacting many other areas besides).

Here in Lismore, the town has been wiped out, by which I mean the CBD broken and destroyed, thousands of homes gone and some lives lost. The waters rose to an unprecedented level – 2.5 metres above any other flood in recorded history – with such speed and ferocity that much of the town was caught off guard. As was the case throughout the region and so many towns, so many lives, have been impacted. We did not expect it to be this bad. This is climate change in action and we are living with the aftermath.

What has been heartening, through this otherwise heartbreaking time, is to witness and be a part of the incredible community, who have come together to help each other whenever / however needed… from men and women rescuing people in dangerous flood waters and bucketing rain, in little tinnies or on jetskis, pulling desperate folk off the rooves of submerged houses… to cleanup crews going from house to house, business to business, doing the disgusting but necessary work of mucking out flooded premises… to people cooking meals for each other, setting up free soup kitches, giving out cool drinks, love and encouragment to other volunteers… to service hubs, health clinics and free support centres being set up for those that need it in the shell of  broken town… this, this is what gives me hope. We are getting through it together – helping one another (…though, some better organised / easily accessed government help would be greatly appreciated too, ya know)

I and my family are so lucky that our home was above the floodline… we watched it come up our street with disbelief, but it didn’t reach us. The clinic, unfortunately, is in a low-lying part of town and was completely submerged – I am not sure when / if I will be able to go back there to practice, as we wait to see what repairs and rebuild are required.

For now, I don’t have a place to resume my usual clinical practice from, but I am hoping to find a space in the coming weeks. In the interim, I am wrangling children (also displaced by flooded / destroyed schools), supporting affected friends and community, and volunteering my time to cleanup and health support centres. I am grateful that I can use my skills and share my good luck with others, in a way that is directly helpful. There are a number of pop-up clinics in town – at the Koori Mail, the Quad, the SCU campus and the Community Healing Hub set up at CASPA. We’re all doing whatever we can to help and support one another. 

image via @communityherbalcare