Of all the ridiculous, comical capers that come with the territory of disaster reporting, my favourite so far is undoubtedly the one about the intrepid acquanaut using a blow-up sex doll as a ride in the flood-swollen Yarra in Melbourne. See the story here. I can just picture it. ‘What was the make and model of your craft, madam?’
‘It was a Linda Lovelace deluxe with vibrating …’
It is true that emergency services workers have their hands full with real emergencies, and a woman who was thrown (?!?) by her ‘ride’ did divert their efforts from more serious work, but you’ve gotta stop to laugh. It’s a shame there were no photos. Without humour in awful situations they would just get too serious to be bearable.
On that note, today is a gloriously sunny summer day here in Brisbane. Cleanup continues at a steady pace. In this neck of the woods there’s almost no sign that the capital was submerged, with the exception of milk and bread being in short supply, and cleanup operations continuing where the journalists and TV cameras don’t go anymore.
I was intrigued by a story on the SBS website: an engineer has taken SEQWater figures and calculated that greater releases from Wivenhoe between 6 – 9 December would have all but eliminated flooding in Brisbane! Hmmm. It will remain forever academic.
It does raise some questions about institutional memory. A catastrophic flood in 1893, another in 1974, and another in 2011. The latest flood was hardly the unforseeable disaster it has been billed as. And right now is the time to accept there will be another flood in 50 years, give or take 30. So will we learn this time around that our residential developrts asnd city planners need to take that fact into consideration? Probably not. All this will be forgotten in a year, and developers will be chasing a quick buck rather than looking to sustainability. It has ever been thus. Caveat emptor.
In the meantime, elsewhere in the world life continues in blissful ignorance of our little problems here.
I did get a kick out of an LA Times story about a computer virus, released a couple of years ago and designed specifically to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons programme by interfering with centrifuges needed to seaparate isotopes to produce enriched uranium. See the story here. The Stuxnet virus has apparently set back the development of an Iranian bomb by years. See more on the story here.
I wonder whether we don’t need something like the Wivenhoe virus. It could auto-release thousands of decalitres from the dam in random spurts, blank out television stations when there’s any indication of weepy, ineffective politicians holding press conferences, and change all endlessly repeated scenes of disaster to random internet porn — maybe that would stop the channels from running those maudlin time-fillers.
But back to a more serious note. Lord Mayor Campbell Newman is right to encourage neighbours to be sticky-beaks and check on their neighbours if there’s been no activity at their houses or units since the flood. It might be that there have been cases of death or injury overlooked or unnoticed in the commotion all around. This is particularly the case with the elderly.