Flooding can't stop kindness spreading

Lou Sinclair shows the height of her shop sign after the water receded from South Murwillumbah.
Lou Sinclair shows the height of her shop sign after the water receded from South Murwillumbah. SCOTT POWICK

AS THE clean-up continues throughout the Tweed, South Murwillumbah residents are coming to terms with the devastation caused by the flood.

Mounds of fridges, beds, cupboards and even teddy bears are piled high outside of homes as residents sort through their life possessions to see what is salvageable.

Lou Sinclair has only lived in Stafford St, South Murwillumbah for 18 months, and runs her boutique homewear store Kindred Collective from the garage, but as the flood water receded it was clear she'd lost everything.

FLOODED IN: Lou Sinclair from Kindred Collective in Stafford St, South Murwillumbah shows how deep the water got during the floods last week.
FLOODED IN: Lou Sinclair from Kindred Collective in Stafford St, South Murwillumbah shows how deep the water got during the floods last week. SCOTT POWICK

"We've spent two days cleaning out the shop and downstairs area,” Ms Sinclair said.

"Neighbours have said how they were naive to think it wouldn't be this bad.”

As the flood water continued to rise on Friday, Ms Sinclair said she tried to save as much as she could from downstairs, even swimming through the water as it reached her chest.

"First it was up to the driveway then the next minute it was up to our knees,” Ms Sinclair said.

"I was so consumed by what was going on I wasn't thinking of anything, not thinking of my safety.”

Ms Sinclair said her daughter took a photo of her trying to rescue her shop sign before they decided the water was too dangerous and they couldn't save any more of their possessions.

"I thought I could save my sign so I got on my tippie toes as high I could but I couldn't get it,” she said.

"If I would have been taller, I would have stayed longer.”

While she wasn't insured for any of her stock or household items, Ms Sinclair said she's happy to cling to anything positive during this time.

"I've lost track of time,” she said.

"We're not covered for anything but we're grateful.”

Stafford St, South Murwillumbah resembles a war zone due to heavy flooding.
Stafford St, South Murwillumbah resembles a war zone due to heavy flooding. SCOTT POWICK

Ms Sinclair said she couldn't believe how the community has rallied together to help each other out. "I've had customers who have come in to help me clean up,” she said.

"I'm too tired to think about the throwing out process of rinsing and washing things to salvage.

"There was a group of women who came to help me. It was too overwhelming. I couldn't see past it but these ladies said they were going to save it. It's like finding gold when I come across old pictures. It's blown me away how great the community spirit has been. It gives me hope anything is possible.”

Topics:  cyclone debbie south murwillimbah floods south murwillumbah tweed flood tweed flood 2017

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