Tonight we were meant to be celebrating Malanka at the Ukrainian Community Centre in South Brisbane. Preparations were put on hold when the flood water began to rise during the week. The forces of nature changed our plans and the Malanka celebration was cancelled. Brisbane was in crisis and flood water was everywhere. Our community centre was spared from the water, but water was all around us, roads closed and the power cut off.
Today on the 15th January 2011, Ukrainian Community volunteers rolled up their sleeves to help Brisbane clean up after the floods. Some of our members have volunteered to assist with council clean up teams, some have gone to individual houses and some to the Ukrainian Association Queensland Ltd. Hall at Oxley.
The spirit to help those affected by the floods is overwhelming. So many people are volunteering to help.
Ukrainian families are received help with cleaning up after the floods. Friends and relatives are helping each other out.
Members of the Ukrainian Community of Queensland Inc. came to help their fellow Ukrainians in trouble at the Oxley community hall.
Fourteen people from the Ukrainian Hromada in Brisbane came to help the Oxley Hromada clean up. From 8am this morning people began coming to help clean up the community hall.
Just driving to get the hall was daunting. It was like driving through a war zone. The smell of mud was overpowering. There were rubbish piles everywhere. At the hall there was mud up all the walls nearly up to the ceiling! There was mud and muck everywhere!
A huge six metre long storage container had floated in and ended up wedged between the hall and the toilet block. It was like it was suspended in the air. Unbelievable!
The outdoor BBQ area had been covered by the flood water and the grassed area was completely covered in thick stinking mud.
The "Ukrainian Mud Army" got to work cleaning! Both Hromada's were working together to achieve the same goal!
People came with high pressure water cleaners, generators, buckets, brooms, sponges, cleaning products ready to work. Unfortunately a lot of furniture, books, documents, memorabilia was ruined and thrown on the rubbish pile on the kerbside. Tables, chairs and everything else needed to be cleaned from the mud. We had to get the mud of everything before it dried!
All the rooms inside the hall needed to be stripped out and cleaned. The outside of the hall was high pressure water blasted with everyone scrubbing with sponges and brooms.
The ladies from the Oxley Hromada, as well as cleaning, prepared food for the hungry workers!
The house next door, which belongs to the Oxley Hromada, also was cleaned from top to bottom, and more detailed cleaning will be required to be done tomorrow.
Many of our volunteers remember the 1974 floods and this hall being flooded. Like then, this tragic event has shown how the Queenslander spirit brings communities together. So too, Queensland Ukrainians have united together to overcome this natural disaster.
We sincerely thank all the volunteers for their hard work, good will and genuine readiness to assist.
Please view the slideshow of photos of some of the moments during the day below, which truly show the spirit of the co-operation of the people who came to help. Or you can see the whole album here.