In only one week, the eastern part of Australia had received its average annual rainfall in just one week due to torrential rains. They claimed the lives of 17 people, with Queensland the hardest-hit area.
After the storm, Tzu Chi volunteers from Brisbane reached out to others first, even if they themselves were also affected by the disaster. Putting the repair of their own houses aside, they brought care to those affected by the flood.
In the aftermath of the flood, there was much to be done, and it was difficult to clean up the homes. Unimaginably, a huge trampoline was flushed into the river from a backyard. It took the work of many people to move it to the street and dispose of it.
This week of heavy rain was most unexpected for residents living along the river banks.
Anli, one of those hit by the disaster, said: "Normally, it's pretty dry, so we could go down the river bed and across it. The trees are overgrown. Now, as long as it rains all night, it will be full."
Nick, another of those affected, said: “Tide came and flushed out all the belongings and furniture. The flood got just below the ceiling. Nothing left!”
This scale of disaster also happened 11 years ago. Tzu Chi volunteer Fu Xinyin (傅新寅) said: "There are many recipient cases in those areas. We had helped them in 2011. Even today they took out the flooded 2011 Tzu Chi magazine, and we give them a new one."
This time the three hardest-hit areas were in Rocklea, Oxley, and St. Lucia. They are more than 12 miles from the Tzu Chi Sydney branch. Nearly 100 volunteers contributed two consecutive days of work to help them clean up.
Councilor Nicole Johnston said: “Many of them here are very young. They probably didn’t know the flood in 2011. So glad to see those young people who were babies, and they come to help us today. I'm incredibly thankful.”
On the second day, the young people had a better understanding and invited more young people to join. Most were students of the University of Queensland. Some were affected too but came to help as soon as the flood receded.
Tzu Chi Youth Lan Weiting(藍瑋婷) is one of them: "After 11:00, the police told us that, if we wanted to leave, we had to swim out. The water was so high and deep and it was very dark. We were scared. After the water receded, we found we’re safe and came to help.”
When a disaster occurs, many people, including Tzu Chi volunteers, are hit. Tzu Chi volunteers wish to help the affected first. This is how they feel others’ suffering as their own.
In the aftermath of a disaster, people need to mobilize and bring aid and care to one another. When communities and villages help one another, the affected areas can be cleaned up quickly and easily. So let us promote the spirit of working with others for the common good.