I just saw this. And you guys think you are fighting mud.
The Horrendous NW Qld Weather Event of February 2019
I encourage you all to share this entire post with your friends as is, noting that all images and text are covered by copyright. Below is our story Kate Hunter has written of this weeks weather event, the magnitude of which we have never seen before.
There are graphic images included here which I believe all Australians should see and hopefully begin to have an understanding of our rural life. We do not want handouts, but sometimes we do need government financial support when these natural disasters occur. Most of all, we need Australians to buy Australian Products. Empathy for us from our city dwellers will indeed help us to survive and rise again from this catastrophe, just as we have empathy for you during the many crazy weather events that continually happen in this land.
An unprecedented Monsoonal trough dropped 707 mm or over 28 inches of wild rain with gusty winds to 70 km, during seven days over our properties in the first week of February 2019. Click on each of these photos to find a short explanation of the circumstances.
After what can only be described as an environmental massacre of mammoth proportions throughout the whole of North West Queensland, the people of this country are heart broken.
We live on a family cattle station 60km north of Cloncurry, where we have just received 700mm plus of rain here over seven days, with the majority of that falling over four days. This extreme weather event has decimated much of our native wildlife along with our domestic livestock. They were constantly exposed to wind and cold driving rain for far too long. The majority of the country was either covered in flood water or churned into a bog, making their feed inaccessible.
The cattle became weak using what energy they had struggling through the mud and pushed by the driving rain. After withstanding these harsh conditions for days on end their energy was depleted and they finally became exhausted simply trying to stay warm.
Graziers around the district are working tirelessly to save what they can and also to humanely euthanize those animals that are sadly beyond saving. Helicopters are being used to distribute what fodder we have available to the survivors and currently this is our only form of transportation. The majority of the region is still inaccessible to vehicles and will be for quite some time.
The scale of devastation here and throughout the North West is impossible to put into words. There are estimates of hundreds of thousands of domestic livestock having been lost so far during this disaster and it is impossible to put into numbers the impact on the regions native wildlife. In some of our paddocks we are facing a 95% loss and on average we are estimating approximately 50% losses over all of our families flood affected properties.
Our cattle have been in a significant supplement feeding program having withstood the last seven years of relative drought. As a result of this our girls were in great condition and we were seeing the beginning of another exceptional crop of calves. Almost overnight we have transitioned from drought years to a flood disaster zone. Unfortunately no amount of preparation could have readied our herd for the relentless driving rain and near gale force winds they had to endure.
On day eight the creek by our houses had dropped and slowed just enough for Robert and Kate to swim across and check on some cows close by. The heart breaking scene they were confronted with on the other side very quickly turned our fears into the horrific nightmare that not only our family but our extended family, the whole of the north west are now battling with. It is unfathomable that our ladies in such a short period of time have lost roughly an incredible 50% of their body weight. The survivors are a mere shadow of the strong healthy animals they were leading into this event.
As we begin to access our paddocks we are being confronted with death and devastation at every turn. There are kangaroos dead in trees and fences, birds drowned in drifts of silt and debris and our beloved bovine family lay perished in piles where they have been huddling for protection and warmth. This scene is mirrored across the entire region, it is absolutely soul destroying to think our animals suffered like this.
The true scale of destruction this disaster has left in its wake we are only just beginning to discover. The sheer amount of water that engulfed the region has demolished fences, exposed pipelines, destroyed water infrastructure, created huge gullies that were once only small seasonal streams, turned roads into rivers and completely washed dam banks away.
Properties further down stream have been completely inundated by flood water and reports are coming in of entire herds being washed away as the country side was enveloped by the flood waters. Many homestead complexes have been completely submerged. Here we have been lucky, our houses, sheds and out buildings have remained relatively dry. Others will have lost everything, facing an enormous clean-up in the paddock and the home front.
Right now, I’m sure I am speaking on behalf of everyone affected, our focus is entirely on the welfare of our animals. In the coming weeks when the surviving animals no longer require our constant care, our focus will shift to the colossal task of clean-up, repair and re-building where possible. This will also be the time where many will be able to take stock and start the grueling task of tallying up the horrific financial cost of this devastating event and begin to make plans for the future. I fear many families will not be able to recover from this blow financially, in some cases their entire future income has literally been washed away.
As I take all night to write this story many graziers are battling a race against time to get fodder to their cattle. With so many facing the logistics of such a task all at once, helicopters, hay and aviation fuel are now in short supply and many are completely helpless to do anything until there name reaches the top of the list.
This is an absolutely gut wrenching time for all of us out here, these cattle are not just our source of income, firstly they are our family and for many of us our life’s passion. Day and night they are often our primary focus and during times like this our every waking moment is dedicated soley to their welfare. The toll that this will take on our extended agricultural family and throughout our entire community financially and even more so emotionally really is truly immeasurable.
Australia we need your support……. Our state and federal governments can do much to help by providing financial funding and disaster assistance packages to help our communities recover and rebuild. The banks can assist by suspending interest repayments on existing mortgages, amongst other things whilst our livestock herds rebuild.
You can help us by using your consumer power and insisting on buying local produce, then we can continue to provide your families with our top quality, home grown, nourishing Australian beef.