DELUGE: Ipswich CBD under water on January 12, 2011.
DELUGE: Ipswich CBD under water on January 12, 2011. Rob Williams

Reflecting on terrible toll, signs of recovery

TIME has moved on from the dreadful 2011 floods but the harsh reality is many people still haven't been able to move on.

Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale made himself the public face of the flood recovery and he knows the toll it took on families.

"There are people out there who are still hurting and, every time there's an anniversary, they reflect on what they went through, because there were a lot of families suffering," Cr Pisasale said.

"Three years on we're all still hurting with insurance; insurance policies have skyrocketed for everybody and, to deal with it, people are devaluing their home and contents."

From a city point of view, he said it was wonderful to remember how residents came together and helped each other.

"The good news is, our city has really shone above other cities where we've done things quickly," he said.

"Colleges Crossing and the One Mile Bridge are nearly finished; this year will see the completion of all the infrastructure but we're not going to forget the community. A lot of them took a severe pounding and they need a lot of help and support still to get them on their feet."

Cr Pisasale cited highlights of the flood recovery as the arrival of the Tzu Chi Foundation which returns every six months.

"It's really great that we can have functions to remind people that they're not alone when they're rebuilding," Cr Pisasale said.

"One thing we've learnt is, when one person in Ipswich is hurt, we all hurt and it was amazing to see all the friends we made around the world. You see a lot more community events. This year we've got more programs where we want to bring the community closer together."

Cr Pisasale said he'd like to think one of the most important things learned from the floods was the management of Wivenhoe Dam.

"Secondly, not to take Mother Nature for granted and always be prepared; now when there's a flood, there will be a lot of alerts and we'll be able to keep the community informed," he said.

"I think we're more aware of what people need to do with natural disasters, whether it's storms or fires or floods."

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