House like the inside of a washing machine

CLEAN START: Leisa and Linda Miles start putting their Copmanhurst home back together after it was completely submerged in floodwaters. Photo: JoJo Newby
CLEAN START: Leisa and Linda Miles start putting their Copmanhurst home back together after it was completely submerged in floodwaters. Photo: JoJo Newby

IN COPMANHURST, floodwater rose to the eaves of Linda Miles' home and inside her family's possessions were churned into complete chaos.

"It must have been like a giant washing machine in here," Ms Miles said.

A large wooden wardrobe was washed underneath a bed, the oven was pushed a metre from the wall, clothes, DVDs and family photos lay in the mud on the floor.

The only item that didn't move was a photo of Ms Miles' father, taken on a tour of duty in Vietnam.

The devastation was complete but Ms Miles is still yet to shed a tear.

"I must be in shock," she said.

"I don't know whether to cry or laugh.

"Still, it could be worse; we're some of the lucky ones because we are insured.

"And at least we weren't asleep in our home."

Ms Miles and four of her children moved to Copmanhurst almost three years ago and when they purchased their home on Grafton St they were told it had never flooded above the floorboards.

Her daughter, Leisa, grabbed her guitar before the family fled to higher ground on Monday night.

Behind the family home there is a small creek which Ms Miles said normally had about 60cm of water in it.

A large hill lies between the Miles' home and the Clarence River, however, at the peak of the flood the river topped the hill.

"I knew we were in trouble when the roar of the river switched around from over there (points to the west) to there (points to the north)," Ms Miles said.

Unlike many in the Valley they were able to purchase flood insurance, however ,they were told by the company not to clean up unless they could submit photographs of everything they intended to claim.

The task is impossible because the family has more or less lost everything they owned.

Member for Page Janelle Saffin met Ms Miles during Governor-General Quentin Bryce's visit this week. When she heard what was happening she got on the case as she was driven back to Lismore.

By 4.30pm, that day the company responsible said they would have an assessor on site today, or tomorrow. Ms Saffin also forwarded a press release from the Insurance Council of Australia, which said people absolutely could enter their homes.

Topics:  flood

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