Flood family living in one room

Nga and Quang Huynh of Bundamba and their children from left, Jason, 7, Johnson, 5, Sophia, 6, are forced to sleep together in the one bedroom of their flood-damaged home.
Nga and Quang Huynh of Bundamba and their children from left, Jason, 7, Johnson, 5, Sophia, 6, are forced to sleep together in the one bedroom of their flood-damaged home. David Nielsen

QUANG Huynh, his wife Nga and his three young children will tonight bed down in the front bedroom of their Bundamba home, simply because it is the only one that doesn't leak.

Eleven months on from the flood that destroyed his house and his home-based fresh produce business, Quang and his family are still years away from putting their lives back together.

With nowhere to stay, the family moved back into the house only weeks after floodwaters receded but mould and septic system issues eventually forced the family into Salvation Army accommodation.

The family is now back living in the high-set home despite leaky ceilings, warped walls and swollen floorboards presenting obvious problems.

Only three months ago the Vietnamese immigrant received the RSPCA's highest honour, the Humane Award, for his efforts in rescuing stranded horses during the floods, today he struggles to keep food on the family table.

The family is currently living on Centrelink benefits after Quang's crops and equipment were washed away by flood waters robbing him of his income.

Like many Ipswich homeowners, Quang has spent much of the year battling his insurance company after initially believing he was fully insured.

Despite his property being assessed as requiring over $250,000 in repair work he was offered a payout of $140,000 which he recently accepted to avoid losing his home.

"I have no income so I had no choice but to pay off some of the mortgage," Quang said of his decision to spend the money on the mortgage rather than repair his home.

"If I fixed the house, I would have no way of paying it off."

With less than $700 in weekly benefits, Quang and his family struggle to pay off the remaining mortgage, bills, and food, all while he works each day attempting to rebuild his livelihood.

The pressure on this proud father is clear as he struggles to remember the names of his children during our talk.

He admits to recently going on medication to deal with the stress.

Ipswich Salvation Army Officer Cathy Beauchamp has been dealing with the increase in needy families since January's floods.

Ms Beauchamp said Quang's case was sad but unfortunately not unique.

"I've been a full-time flood recovery officer since January and Quang's family just is one of many in this position," she said.

"His case may be a bit different because he lost his business as well but some families got no insurance payout at all.

"I have 15-20 cases on my own books at the moment."

Quang and his family have received a lot of community support and financial assistance over the last year, something he said he was forever grateful for.

Now back in their house and with electricity recently reconnected the family hopes to they can slowly rebuild their lives.

Today, Quang will begin the job of rebuilding his crop covers in the hope he can soon provide for his family.

Topics:  family flood home insurance

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