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Flooding flashbacks too much

Jim Huston, 71, says few answers will come out of the Emerald flood inquiry.
Jim Huston, 71, says few answers will come out of the Emerald flood inquiry.

HE lost everything in 2008 and watched again as floodwaters rose well above the predicted levels to engulf his Suncross Place home.

He lost everything for the second time in the December floods and yesterday, 71-year-old Jim Huston could not bear to face the Emerald flood inquiry.

The pain and heartache he still felt when he thought of his home was too raw, he said, and attending the formal inquiry would just bring those emotions flooding back with as much force as the waters that ruined his home.

Jim said there would be few answers to arise out of yesterday’s opening session of the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry.

“Besides, I don’t see how they are going to contract the floodwaters or beat any future events,” Jim said yesterday as he sat in his Martin Pl home.

“Those little pipes that are meant to control the water just can’t handle the amount that went flooding through town.”

Jim and his partner Sandra Jaeger, 63, signed the paperwork for their new home in Martin Pl, just a week before Christmas.

But they were unable to move their possessions from Suncross Pl in time for the floods.

Instead, he and Sandra had to settle for raising everything up well above the 2008 levels.

Jim said it was nowhere near high enough.

The water that destroyed everything in his unit reached a height, he said, of about 155cm.

Jim said he’d had great support from his insurer, Westpac, but was critical of the time taken to assess and approve the rebuild of his unit.

“Westpac (insurance company) has been great - slow, but great,” he said.

“They put $5000 in my bank account straight away for incidentals and that really helped us out.”

But despite the emergency funds, Jim had to resort to his superannuation to replace everything, which will now leave him out of pocket for his retirement.

He said, if he’d known how high the water was going to go, he’d have prepared and would be in a better financial situation now.

“I still get depressed when I think about it,” he said.

“I can’t bear to go inside the (Suncross Pl) unit… it’s too depressing.

“Mowing the lawn and trimming the trees is hard enough.

“I just don’t see how people could go through it more than twice.”

Jim and Sandra are looking forward to the future and, with little alternative, have invested in their Martin Pl home, and said it was doubtful they would return to Suncross Pl.


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