Family forced to abandon home in Queensland flooding

By Mary Dennehy

A SOUTH Dublin family living in Australia have “lost everything” after being forced to abandon their home due to severe rainfall and flooding in Queensland.

Mick Doyle, originally from Saggart, and his Clondalkin wife Rachel have been living in Australia for the past seven years, buying their first family home in Townsville, North Queensland, two years ago.

Doyle family Oz floods

Mick and Rachel with their three kids

The couple and their three young children, aged two, four and nine, are among the thousands impacted on by major flooding in the state.

Mick and Rachel’s eldest son, has autism and epilepsy, an added worry for the family as they try to deal with the uncertainty of the situation.

Speaking with The Echo from Australia, Mick, who is an electrician, stressed that his family are all safe and staying with friends, after they had to evacuate their home last week.

“Everything happened so fast”, Mick said.

“We literally made the decision to leave and within 20 minutes were packed and gone.

“We’ve got no clothes, no house, nothing… we’ve lost everything.

“We’re homeless at the minute and we could be anything up to three months in temporary accommodation.”

Since leaving their home, Mick, who is a past pupil of Holy Family in Rathcoole, and his family have been staying with friends.

“It’s terrible what’s happened, and it’s not only us”, Mick said.

“We’re also among the lucky ones, we have house insurance.”

Mick, who has been back to his house to assess the damage, added: “Our house will basically have to be rebuilt.

“The sewerage has been through and [this week] I took two skip-loads of stuff out of the house.

“Our cars are also gone, they have been towed away.

“It’s been really hard, we’re all sleeping on the floor… and my four year old daughter just wants to go home.

“You never think you’re going to experience something like this.

“The schools are all closed, I can’t go to work, shops are running out of food… we’re literally going from minute to minute.”

Risks posed by dirty water and the reported presence of crocodiles and snakes in the water are also on people’s minds.

“There is a lot of bacteria in the water, we have to watch out for infection and be careful if we have any cuts”, Mick said.

Due to torrential rain, Queensland has been hit with its heaviest floods in over a century.

According to reports, between 150mm and 200mm of rain fell the weekend before last – which is equal to an average month’s rainfall.

A major clean-up operation by authorities is underway. 

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