Flash flooding strips away all they owned
JULIE and Stephen Seidel thought they had escaped Tropical Cyclone Debbie with a couple of leaks and some fallen trees.
Little did they know the following night would be much worse.
On Wednesday night, the pair were lying in bed when they woke to their room filling with water.
“I just woke up and started screaming at the two boys,” Julie said.
The couple, their son, Glen, and their Cannonvale home had fallen victim to the severe flash flooding that hit the region the night after Debbie.
Stephen said he originally thought it was the roof causing the flooding and it had fallen in.
“It wasn’t until I looked towards the generator at the front step that I realised the water wasn’t coming from the roof, it was coming from outside the house,” he said.
“We opened up the garage door and it just poured in.”
Julie and Stephen said they were forced to open the doors of their house to let the water escape or run the risk of their home being submerged.
About 300mm of water filled the main living area while the back rooms in the house were filled with half a metre of water.
“I tried to pick things up on the floor but it wasn’t doing any good so I just had to hold onto the door frame because if I didn’t, I would have gone out as well,” Julie said.
The couple, who moved to the Whitsundays in 2011 and had never experienced a cyclone before, lost everything.
They quickly made contact with their insurers, Suncorp, and said they did an “incredible job”.
The couple said it was a very fast-moving process and had been easy from the get-go.
“Suncorp have been really good and so have the builders,” Julie said.
“We will move back in eventually but we’re not sure how long that will be.”
Suncorp’s Joshua Cooney said since Debbie hit last Tuesday, 1700 jobs had been allocated and about half had already been assessed, with repairs under way.
He said Suncorp had already deployed its panel of builders to Proserpine, Bowen, Collinsville and Airlie Beach.
“We’ve got builders on site and men of all trades doing what they need to do to get people’s lives back on track because what’s happened is a catastrophe,” he said.
Of the 1700 jobs allocated, 777 jobs were under way, including make-safe work.
Since Debbie, Suncorp has received more than 8000 claims from residents in north and south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Mr Cooney said the insurance recovery effort was not slowing down and would continue to increase as more claims were lodged and more builders received approval to start work.
“Suncorp has a large contingent of tradespeople on the ground and this will continue to climb,” he said.
“Work is allocated to local trades and claims teams stay and spend money in the region.”
I just had to hold onto the door frame because if I didn’t, I would have gone out as well. — Julie Seidel