Monday, 05 Dec 2022

Displacement and disbelief in flood-hit Rochester as residents survey the damage

Displacement and disbelief in flood-hit Rochester as residents survey the damage


Displacement and disbelief in flood-hit Rochester as residents survey the damage

Rochester is still coming to terms with the ferocity of the swollen river, which inundated houses like a tidal wave.

Water levels exceeded the devastating floods of 2011 and took the life of a 71-year-old resident, Kevin Wills, who was found dead in his backyard on Saturday morning.

Nearly a week after the devastating event, some streets and playgrounds in Rochester are still covered in a layer of water.

As it recedes, the full scale of the damage is laid bare. Fences have bent under the weight of the water, while roads have been split open and slicked with silt and mud. The clean-up will take weeks or months.

In a church in the town on Wednesday, volunteers packed hampers of nappies, bedding and non-perishable items. Trucks made their slow progression past houses, collecting furniture too broken to be salvaged.

They also questioned why ambulances that were in Rochester were recalled to assist nearby townships. It left the pharmacist as the only verified medical practitioner in the town.

Lee Wilson, a former local councillor, says the only mental health support currently on the ground for shaken residents is volunteers with minimal training.

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