The people of Brisbane showed their true community spirit in the aftermath of the disastrous January floods. From the countless volunteers of the “Mud Army” who picked up a shovel and pitched in, to the many residents who took strangers into their own homes to offer succour and relief, Brisbane-ites displayed numerous examples of resilience and selfless service in the face of adversity.

Many community and voluntary groups stepped forward to offer their services across Brisbane, including neighbourhood centres, community associations, local church congregations, sporting, service and social clubs and many, many more.

There were many groups such as Micah Projects, The Red Cross, Salvos, St Vincent de Paul, Lifeline and others, who were able to put forward resources and trained personnel to meet the demand for assistance.

All levels of Government also made their resources freely available to assist in the emergency situation, and have continued to do so.

As we approach the six month anniversary of the disaster, however, it’s important to realise that the Flood Recovery process still has some way to go. Experience from other natural disasters around the world shows that while the physical damage can be fixed and the infrastructure replaced, the emotional and personal scars take longer to heal.

Even now, almost six months after the event, there are still many families and individuals whose interrupted lives have not returned to normal. People are still living with friends or relatives, staying in temporary accommodation, or camping out in their still flood-damaged homes.

People are still paying the financial costs of the disaster, waiting to settle an insurance claim, or for their funding applications to be approved. Business, too, is feeling the pinch as it struggles to make up for lost trade and a falling off in customer spending.

Adults and especially children are still suffering from the emotional trauma of experiencing what seemed, at the time, to be a life-threatening situation.

Experts in the area of disaster recovery suggest the process can take many years to work its way through a community. While Brisbane has come a long way in repairing the visible damage to houses and roads, etc, there’s still a lot of work to be done in healing the personal damage.