“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”
-Attributed to Frank Lane
Life has finally returned to some semblance of normality after a week or turmoil as a result of some large scale storms that impacted the east coast of Australia from Wollongong in southern NSW and as far north as Lismore. Personally, the only issue I had was a loss of power for four and a half days, at home and my mobile phone coverage was nonexistent for a few days, other than SOS Only. I do have friends and colleagues who lost no services at all, and some who lost not just electricity and mobile phone coverage, but also water services, and varying levels and types of damage from lost roof panels and broken tiles, to trees through houses.
My local area council and AusGrid, the electricity provider in the area have been fantastic. They worked hard through horrendous, and quite unsafe conditions to get roads cleared, power lines restrained from unsafe locations, to restore power and water to homes and to ensure that homes that had suffered damage were safe to be in, or had been adequately secured.
My school was today on minimal supervision as we still have significant damage that has been as yet not dealt with, beyond erecting fences around a large fallen that knocked a demountable toilet block off its foundations and which broke some water pipes. Two classrooms are inaccessible due to being fenced off as a result of safety concerns around the walkway the tree is resting on and two other classrooms have no water services due to the broken pipes. This will remain the case for all four rooms until a particular tree has been removed and the damage repaired and walkways checked for safety. Currently, it appears to be Thursday at the earliest before this will occur, however we have been advised that school will return to regular operations as of tomorrow.
School operations will not likely be returned to normal until next week, as there will be a period of adjustment and discussion about what has happened over the past week.
Good luck to those of you still dealing with damaged houses and schools, and a huge thank you to the SES, council and power supply crews who worked through dangerous conditions to provide assistance and relief to the rest of us.