I live on Flooded Country

A flooded country, by Sally Flannery – inspired by Dorothea Mackellar’s “A sunburnt country’.

We live on flooded country
A land of pouring rains
Of ragged mountain ranges
That slip and block road lanes
We’ve seen the wet horizons
That flow into the sea
Her beauty and her terror
The flooded land holds me.

The cloudy misted mountains
Lined with cars and tents and vans
The cloudy misted mountains
Hold heads within their hands.
Weeds tangled in the fences
Wire twisted into coils
We walk the ground with caution
Or sink into her soils.

Core of my heart, my country
Her dark and looming sky
We watch the river rising
We see the cattle die.
And when the grey clouds gather
We cry and pray again
The boat engines, an army
In the steady, soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country
A land of flooded gold
For fire and flood and famine
That come in waves threefold.
The homes and muddy paddocks,
We watch for many days
The filmy veil of green mould
That thickens as we gaze.

We live on flooded country,
unsure of where to go,
We’re frozen in our movements
Unlike the rivers flow.
In muddy, mouldy waiting,
We apply for grants and aid
As we sit in silent waiting
Our mental states do fade.

I love a sunburnt country,
Though I do not know her well,
For I live on flooded country,
And I’ve watched the rivers swell.
I’ve sat on cold tin roofing,
In desperate anxious fear,
For I live on flooded country,
Don’t forget, we still are here.

How to use the Emergency Response Template

Click here for Clickup Template

This rescue template was created by Sally Flannery in 2022 in response to the Lismore Floods (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-06/nsw-floods-how-a-spreadsheet-became-lifesaver-in-lismore/100885054)
In Lismore, phone towers failed – making emergency calls to State emergency services and police impossible. With thousands needing rescue, responses started being fielded to social media. This Clickup list was created as a way to triage, monitor and co-ordinate rescues.
Here is how to use it, to manage your emergency rescue.
  1. Join Clickup and import the template
  2. Setup your volunteers. You will want an admin but keep in mind that admins have ultimate control. I suggest adding ‘online’ or additional volunteers as guests. This will allow them to add data.
  3. Share a post on your platform. In the 2022 Lismore floods, I shared this post to a large facebook group I ran
As you can see, the post was shared 300+ times, with over 1000 comments. My suggestion is
post this on a large group, or if you are an emergency service – on your facebook page. Make sure that your post is SHAREABLE. This is essential. Ask in your post for people to share it.
4. Setup your volunteers. In a large emergency, you will need multiple volunteers scouring not just your post, but other social media posts and pages. In the Lismore floods, we had over 50 online volunteers as guests on Clickup, working around the clock. Ideally, you want to have them setup and trained BEFORE an emergency situation, but if you are in the middle of the rescue phase and picking this up – that’s fine too. That is how we created this and learnt on the go.
Set your volunteers up as guests with full permissions to add tasks and edit tasks.
5. Triage requests into your Clickup list. Add a
-location ( address) make sure this is added into location to it populates into your map too
-phone number if possible
-rescue details
If you are viewing a comment, you can also reply to the comment and ask for more details. In a flood, things like Roof colour / where in the house are you (roof?) etc are really helpful.
6. Continue to monitor requests incoming and make sure they are added. We commented on each comment “Added to Clickup” or “added to rescue list” so we knew, they knew and other volunteers knew what had been added.
7. Evacuation centres – If there are evacuation centres, make sure you sync in with them. In Lismore, we had 3 centres and we manned desks for days at these centres, manually logging their paper intake forms against our rescue list – to mark off any people who were safe.
8. Work with the authorities – Whether you are a community rescue group, or an emergency response organisation, work with each other. One of the biggest issues we saw was a lack of correct information. If a civilian boat goes out for a rescue, making sure they let someone know or post on the thread helps us keep our information accurate. We worked alongside our local SES and police to update our records against theirs, adding and removing rescues in the process.
9. Sharing of personal information – use your best judgement. We shared potentially sensitive information publicly. For us, the scale of the disaster meant that sharing the list meant people could see if their family was safe. This meant less people attempting dangerous rescues or re-entering flood waters, as well as mitigating trauma. Potential risk of shared info vs potential loss of life – for us, we chose to put it out there. You make the call in your situation.
10. Using the map feature – in order to see where your rescues are needed, toggle to the map feature at the top of the page. Make sure as default your filters are set to “location” and “by status” to see the map as intended. This can be useful for directing boats or rescue teams.
11. Managing deaths – As morbid as it seems, you may have deaths you need to list. In a public list, this needs to be handled sensitively. Our “contact police” status was titled “contact Sally” at the time. You can change yours to something ambiguous – perhaps contact for more information. People ideally shouldn’t be finding out their family have died via social media, but by police in an appropriate way. Consider this thoughtfully and approach in a way that mitigates trauma.
One combined effort is better than 10. The thing about rescue efforts is that many spring up – this list worked well because there was one of it’s type. Multiple efforts should aim to work together, and this list allows multiple contributors, which leads to great success.
Be safe, go well.
Sally Flannery