TWO WEEKS LATER: North Bundaberg residents Tom Orpin and his family are tackling the mess one day at a time and are simply grateful to be alive. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
TWO WEEKS LATER: North Bundaberg residents Tom Orpin and his family are tackling the mess one day at a time and are simply grateful to be alive. Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail Max Fleet

Two weeks on, flood memories still raw in Bundaberg

TWO weeks after the floods wreaked havoc in Bundaberg, residents are slowly piecing their lives back together.

Tom Orpin, 42, is one of many North Bundaberg residents who is now rolling up his sleeves and starting on the long journey to recovery.

"It will probably take us around 12 months to get the house back to normal," he said.

"But my family is safe and everything else can be replaced."

And for the father of four, family is extremely important.

So important in fact, when rescue finally arrived, Mr Orpin made sure his family was taken to safety first.

"When I knew they were safe I breathed a huge sigh of relief," Mr Orpin said.

"I'm so grateful to the folks at Glenlodge Caravan Village who took my family in.

"I prepared myself based on the 2010 flood and thought I'd know what we were in for.

"You couldn't prepare yourself for this."

Mr Orpin said on the night his family were meant to be airlifted out, the Blackhawk helicopter had not been equipped to carry his nine-week-old grandson.

"So we had to get out by boat instead," he said.

Mr Orpin's daughter, Amber Masefield said she would never forget the distressing moment when she had to climb on to the roof of the family home.

"It was really scary," she said.

Mr Orpin said the people in North Bundaberg were a tight-knit community which would be vital during the recovery process.

"I checked up on my neighbours to make sure they were alright," he said.

Mr Orpin described the moment he first saw his house after the floods as "traumatic".

"Just seeing all the damage," he said.

Mr Orpin said as the massive clean-up began there was one speed bump on the road to recovery - and that was his insurance company playing hard ball.

"What they are saying to me is because the river burst its banks you will not be covered," he said.

"So I've got to see how that plays out."


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