AS THE TV reporters leave the ‘disaster porn’ coverage of Tropical Cyclone Debbie (better known in the tropical farming areas as ‘that bitch’), the clean up begins.
The first and most important clean-up is head space.
People who have been through many cyclones have been traumatised by the experience of waiting with uncertainty, the roaring winds and listening to rooves and windows creaking and tearing.
And then traumatised by looking at the damage to buildings and crops lovingly and expensively tended.
People, usually hard and tough, are in shock.
So the first task is to look after each other.
A hug, a quiet word, a check out of neighbours, family and friends — these very human responses are needed.
Then comes the physical clean-up.
In some places, floodwaters will take days to fall before gaining access.
Electricity will be weeks away for many towns and farms.
Currently, people living off generators are running out of fuel and water (ironically) and there’s no power to get pumps going.
These are very real issues not well understood in cities where utilities are a given.
Then there’s the fallen trees, shed rooves, inundated rooms and workshops.
And lots of people can’t work or access cash — or even use a credit card (shock, horror for the urbanites).
Debbie left a mess and the clean-up will take not just months to repair basic housing and services, but years to repair damage to farms and roads and businesses.
And in some cases, years to repair financial damage.
This will take strength of purpose and willpower.
There will be many frustrations and disappointments along the way.
So be strong people — and accept help, especially from friends, family, mates.
This is when we all dig deep.