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Tell HN: Flooded area in Queensland now the size of Texas
63 points by RiderOfGiraffes on Jan 12, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 27 comments
Just a note to say I hope all the hackers are safe in Queensland. The flooded area is reported to be roughly the size of Texas, America's second largest state. The area declared a disaster zone is 75% of Queensland - roughly twice the area of Texas, or roughly the size of Alaska.

So if you're in the area, or were in the area, or have afilliations with the area, I hope you're safe, and wish you the best on the road to recovery, whenever that may start.


From a comment by jacques_chester below:

    Here's an easy hack. Pull out your credit card, go
    here: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

    Joint appeal from Red Cross, the Salvation Army and
    the Queensland Emergency Service.
I can't make that link clickable here in the text - go find the comment and click on it there.

Myself and my girlfriend had to evacuate this morning. When we left the was water was lapping our diveway about half way up the car's tyres. We came back about 2 hrs later to see what else we could save, by which time the whole house was about waist deep. Managed to save the majority of our clothes, some books and DVDs, iPad, computer etc, but all the big furniture and whitegoods are destroyed. The worst part is that the river is yet to peak (currently 4.5m)... Should be closer to 5.5m by 4.00am tomorrow. We are very lucky to have saved as much as we did, and that we are fully insured for the rest. 12 people in outer areas are dead, and 70 more missing. I am thankful that everyone I know of is safe and we have had many offers of help.

I'm sure many here wish you all the best - our thoughts are with you. Here's hoping the recovery program is effective and prompt.

My first thoughts were that when we moved from Brisbane to London 3 months ago, all my Queensland mates laughed about leaving the Sunshine State for UK weather. They've had nothing but rain since.

A few years ago I helped write a book on the history of Brisbane Riverfront homes. Most of those owners knew exactly where the previous floods (especially 1974, which this one will roughly equal) had reached. In some cases, their multi-million dollar home had been submerged; in one case, the owner boasted how they had come home to find a yacht in their living room. They all knew that no matter how many dams were built or droughts were declared, floods would happen again. I hope they're all safe.

Another interesting piece of information from that book's research was that it takes, on average, about 20 years for the effects of flooding to dissipate in the community. This is most obvious through riverfront housing prices - yes, they are multi-million dollars now (or at least, were 2 weeks ago), but it took a long time after 1974 (and 1955 and 1893) for the mindset to shift from 'major risk' to 'major desire'. Another way of saying: the impact of this flood on the city I love will last a generation.

It's nice to see that HN is thinking of us :)

My housemates and I had to evacuate our apartment building this morning. Our place is on the fourth story so our things should be ok, but we won't be able to get back until Saturday, if not later. After all the thunder, lightning, and rain over the last few days it was a bit surreal to be wading down our street (carrying my pack out of the water and trying not to let the cat drown) on a hot and sunny summer morning.

Do NOT give to the Red Cross. They are horribly inefficient with money. Nothing you give to them right now will get to people who need it, it's for the NEXT emergency, maybe, if they don't spend it on furniture for the offices instead.

Find smaller, local charities. I know it's not easy but it will actually help people rather than just making us feel better.

Can you justify this? Would be nice to have a link to a report or something backing what you write, because the Red Cross is always coming, this is maybe the only organisation you are sure to find everywhere there are people to help. In Germany they are pretty efficient.

Maybe they are different in other countries (and maybe you have fewer options in other countries) but in the USA they are very, very inefficient, have had a few scandals, and few people seem to know or care.

Just google the fiasco with what they did with the millions they got after 9/11 when people had impulse to donate but didn't bother to research alternatives. Local chapters kept funds meant for 9/11 and the national headquarters used some of the funds to buy nice furniture for themselves.

The reality is if you want your donation to go towards a specific cause, you are always best off finding a local charity that is smaller and highly optimized and already has "feet on the ground" in the area.

Randomly throwing money at causes to make oneself feel better is wasteful and defeating.

There was some flash flooding in my city of Toowoomba (close to Brisbane QLD) earlier this week. I was supposed to meet a client that afternoon in the CBD, I'm sure glad I cancelled!

I collected some footage and images if anyone is interested: http://phillipsdesign.com.au/notebook/toowoomba-floods/

Good luck to the people in Brisbane and surrounds, stay safe.

Didn't realize there were other HNers in Toowoomba. Coffee sometime?

For the Europeans: The flood area is greater than the sizes of Germany and France combined.

It's really devastating to see that. My heart goes to QLD; much love from NSW.

I'm at a loss to think of a hack to help them, but I'll keep thinking...

Here's an easy hack. Pull out your credit card, go here:


Joint appeal from Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Queensland Emergency Service, I believe.

Edit: http://telethon.smartservice.qld.gov.au/ takes you directly to the credit card donations page. First link gives you other options.

Edit 2: Red Cross direct donations: https://www.redcross.org.au/Donations/onlineDonations.asp

Salvos: https://www.salvationarmy.com.au/newdonation/donation.aspx

Does Australia need that? I don't think they are a poor country? Sorry if that sounds petty, just wondering.

No, not really. I'm a little embarrassed that we're calling out for donations when there are much more worthy causes.

HN isn't just a Californian site. Many of us live in Australia, or have lived.

It depends on what you define as 'need', which is going to be a bit subjective. I can't be your conscience for you.

But every dollar will find a use now helping to evacuate, feed and protect people from the flood waters and in future it will help them to rebuild.

Cleanup bill estimates I've heard so far are in excess of $15 billion. There is an estimated $2 billion in damages to roads alone. Expenditure like this would take anyone for surprise, including seemingly wealthy countries.

Sure, but for example I live in Europe and we have to bail out entire countries and industries, which also costs billions. I feel it would make more sense to donate in places where the government can't help, like 3rd world. Is anybody considering donating to the European Union?

I have also heard it can be a problem to donate for specific causes, if the organizations then are not allowed to use the money for other things.

Since apparently these australians live in flooding areas, how many of them have not been insured? Would i encourage them to skip insurance in the future, too, if i would donate now?

Two things commonly arise in these cases.

1. Most insurers don't drive home the point that they're only insuring for storm and surge, not for flood ... until after the floods are done.

2. Flood insurance is usually set at very high prices. In some parts of the country it's consequently been made illegal to settle in flood zones. But these floods are so large that they're affecting areas that have never flooded before, where a rational person wouldn't have bought flood insurance anyway.

I'm honestly not sure if you'd be encouraging them to skip insurance in future. I suspect not, because the government payouts in past natural disasters have only been a fraction of the damage caused, whereas a good insurance policy could pay 100% or more of the cost. It's still rational to take the insurance if you can afford it.

A lot of this will go to help poorer people unable to insure their homes and/or contents, or to help relief efforts feed, clothe, and house evacuees. It may not be a poor country but there are still poor people. Just like Hurricane Katrina in the US -- though our government seems to do a better job than the US when it comes to disaster response.

Our governments get a lot of practice. Fires, floods and cyclones are relatively common occurrences, though rarely on this scale.

I imagine that at this point emergency services in the south of the US are pretty good at responding to tornadoes, for example.

Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any ability to donate via credit card which I think stinks. How could anyone that isn't Australian donate.

BTW, if you're a Suncorp Bank customer and you have forgotten your external transfer password or never had one you can still donate via Internet banking to the Suncorp account number: 002780003


Accepting Visa, MasterCard and Amex. I think it should accept international cards with Visa/MC etc doing the currency conversion to AUD.

Especially with the super strong AUD right now.

Looks like our house will miss the flood waters. Was out filling sandbags till 230am last night.

What is the ratio of Library of Congress's to Texas in area?

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