Havering woman stranded in Aussie flood
PUBLISHED: 09:24 05 January 2011 | UPDATED: 12:34 05 January 2011
A YOUNG Havering woman who fled the UK’s winter chill for a spot of sun in Australia has instead found herself stranded in the flood-stricken outback.
Kelly Everitt, 27, from Elm Park and Aussie husband Lachlan Scheuber, 30, were visiting his family in the central Queensland town of Rockhampton, when they became trapped after the Fitzroy River burst its banks following days of freak downpours.
The couple, who flew out on December 23, initially feared they wouldn’t make it out of England as blizzards bombarded the country and grounded flights.
But the pair now face a challenging two-day odyssey – by catamaran, in parts – to reach an airport and fly home again.
“I think it’s ironic that I struggled to get out of Heathrow,” Kelly told the Recorder today from Rockhampton, “and now I’m struggling to get home.
“It rained solidly for the first five days I was here. I heard reports on TV that things were looking dire, but didn’t think they’d get this bad. I came all this way to escape the snow and it’s done nothing but rain since I got here!”
Rather than sitting and waiting for the situation to improve Kelly has been helping locals make preparations against the rising floodwaters.
“I had a friend call up on Sunday saying he thought the water was going to damage his business,” she said, “so I spent best part of New Year’s Day filling bags with sand and blocking all the doors to the best of our ability using plastics, sheets and mastic.”
She added: “I definitely burnt off a few extra Christmas pounds after a day of moving furniture around!”
The flood waters have already ravaged swathes of Queensland the size of Germany and France, leaving around 20 cities bathing in up to 30ft of muddy water.
Kelly, a former Abbs Cross School pupil, said: “It’s an unbelievable experience. You see things like this on the news all the time but seeing it for yourself is something quite different.
“I haven’t at any stage felt frightened as the house I am staying in is on high ground, but I feel awful for the people who have had to evacuate, losing their homes, possessions and in some cases their pets.”
She added: “The people of Rockhampton are doing their best to go about their business and spirits remain high.”
Dad David Everitt, 49, from Warren Drive, Elm Park, said he and wife Shirley had kept in regular contact with their daughter through skype and texting.
“At one stage they turned the camera on and the rain was torrential,” he said. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.
“We were never worried about them but we’re looking forward to having them both back safe and sound and hearing all about their adventures!”
Kelly and Lachlan are expected home on Monday (January 10)
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