As an Agricultural Scientist part of my role has always been supporting clients and communities through the consequences of adverse weather events be it drought, frost, bushfire or flood.

The ongoing Flood in Northern Vic 2022 is more personal than other events. It’s occurring in our patch.

It’s impacted my family and friends in Rochester and surrounds.

It’s impacting our community in Echuca.

It’s hurting the farmland and income source of many.

It’s impacting small and big businesses still trying to recover from Covid.

Our story is only one of many communities in Eastern Australia in 2022.

Seeing it on the news is one thing, living it first hand is something else.

Our personal impact is mild and my heart hurts for those severely impacted

Welcome to “The Flog” a blog of the flood as I’ve experienced it.

This first episode was recorded Friday Oct 21.

It’s week after the terrible event where the Campaspe came too fast and furious for Rochester and at the end of a week where Echuca has been preparing for the Murray to peak.

It’s raw real rough and ready.

My hope is that you get a sense for the backdrop in which information is being consumed and decisions are being made.

Natural disasters and emergencies are human events. #floods #humanity #community

Humans experience natural disasters.

The Flog is a timeline of the weather and floods as experienced by the folk of Northern Victoria.

Episode 2 was filmed as we waited for the Murray River to peak in Echuca.

It rained and rained and rained.

The rain brought emotion and anxiety.

And each human was processing information and making decisions while dealing with anticipation and anxiety.

#floods #humanity

The reality of Emergency from on the ground is this:

Public resources are stretched and people pitch in to fill the gap.

It’s not an optional extra.

As the Murray River reached close to its peak things got desperate.

Calls went out on social media for sand bags boats and pumps.

Episode 3 of The Flog is a tiny insight.

We met Emma – a recent first home owner trying to keep the water out from under her house.

My friend left an important meeting to bring his pump to her house.

We pumped water for a few hours but in the end the river won.

Emma and her neighbours will have a long road to recovery.

What a set back for a young woman giving life a real go.

At the very least Emma knows humans give a damn about each other.

When the policy makers and technical experts are making plans- keeping the Emma’s of the world in mind will add to the effectiveness of such plans. #humanity #floods #emergencymanagement

Wednesday Oct 26

Humans experience floods.

Humans need haircuts.

Humans get tired and emotional.

Humans along the Rivers of Victoria and NSW are experience all stages of a flood scenario.

Humans are making decisions under pressure during preparation, response or recovery.

Meanwhile each level of government and specialist departments have messages to convey.

A multi prong approach is used and these days much emphasis is placed on #digital tools and apps.

Are the tools used to convey messages to these humans fit for purpose?

How many clicks do you need to get the answer?

How many minutes of press conference do you have wade through to get the vital information?

Are the messages consistent?

What if you aren’t able to use such tools?

Despite best efforts and good intentions, difficult to navigate apps and websites aren’t great in a dynamic situation. #floods #humanity #experience

Natural disasters cause structural harm, emotional harm and financial harm.

The structural harm is what we see in damaged buildings and flooded crops.

The emotional harm is less visible.

The financial harm is also hard to measure in its entirety.

The day I took this clip, I had intended to get back to work after 10 days of focusing on “flood fighting” as my friend Alison Wright calls it.

The Think Agri Clients had been super understanding but the work was piling up.

Then my bestie phoned.

He was super stressed.

The channel near his house was close to flowing over.

The work was set aside for another day.

Hundreds of businesses are disrupted from supplying goods and services during natural disasters as humans help other humans.

And you don’t need water running through you’re work place for that to happen. #floods #humanity #commerce #disruption

Humanity rises during crisis.

The Flog Episode 6 shares the spirit of contribution and community leadership that continues to play out in communities affected by flooding.

Humans are fundamentally good.

Leaders without titles step up because it’s the right thing to do.

Rochester’s unofficial leaders led with compassion and common sense when the flood came faster and more furious than expected.

Lives were preserved as a result.

Thanks Bruce Macague for sharing the footage. #leadership #community #floods #humanity

Traumatised communities want empathy not sympathy.

The emotional soup is swirling

Gratitude, guilt and grief are just a teaspoon of the emotional reality unfolding in Victoria and NSW.

People are suffering and I’m sitting amongst roses in beautiful environment.

I’m grateful to be so fortunate yet feel guilty posting this while others grieve their losses.

This churning is tiny snapshot of the emotional landscape of a traumatised community.

To be clear – this is not about me. It’s anything but.

The Flog is a practical gift on behalf of our community and communities like ours.

The purpose of The Flog is to create awareness and build understanding of the emotions, complexities and human reality of living in times of trauma.

The ask is that those tasked with building policy and practical solutions keep in mind the human reality.

Every day has a new challenge.

This was recorded October 28 at the farm. It was Friday evening.

The extent of crop damage is becoming clearer.

The neighbour was hosting some dairy cattle who needed some relief accommodation.

They needed a pep talk about respecting boundaries.

Perhaps I should have been more polite to these displaced flood victims.

My cooperative neighbour popped them in another paddock and they are happy and so am I.

Working cooperatively is key component of Kathryn McEwen resilience model.

It’s vital.

P.S I’m rather disturbed at my resemblance of “Vera” from the BBC crime drama of the same name.

#floods #resilience #farming #community

Recorded Monday Nov 6.

Disasters cause visible and invisible harm.

In this episode, the true extent of the water logging in our crop becomes apparent. It’s highly visible.

Back in Echuca, the less bible impact is taking its toll.

The #retail shops are open but business is slow.

Tourist towns rely on tourists and there are none!

October November is the start of “Harvest” for retail, accommodation and hospitality businesses.

Traditionally, October is a great best month for trade and this year they were closed for two weeks.

That’s a tough pill to swallow on the back of Covid.

Expectations were high about making up some lost ground and now they are back to step one.

The shops are back open but there’s very little trade.

These businesses need your help.

The humans who run them are feeling flat, stressed, tired and anxious.

Come for a drive. Stay a few days. Play some golf. Spend some money.

The river is closed to leisure activities but Echuca Moama is well and truly open for business. There’s lots to see and do.

#tourism #humanity #floods #business

Family outings take many forms. #floods #humanity

The Flog Episode 10.

The Family outing.

The Climate is in a Mood.

When La Niña and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) negative combine, weather is rainy and cool.

It’s more complex than this of course and there are regional nuances and other factors involved.

I call this combination Climate Mood A.

Normally it’s A grade conditions for agriculture but when Climate Mood A goes ballistic it’s A for asshole.

Climate Mood A is expected to last until December then Climate Mood B (La Nina alone) is expected to stay until Feb- March.

That means cool wet conditions for most of summer on the East Coast.

Climate literacy for the general public will help humans better prepare for emergency.

#humanity #floods #climate #emergencymanagement

A Climate driven, weather induced disaster is relentless and wide spread.

It happens when it’s hot dry and full on bushfires like 2019/20.

It’s happening now all throughout NSW and Victoria.

Yesterday Molong in NSW was completely inundated. Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula was flash flooded.

I’m geographically removed from the floods for a few days but the reality of this large scale disaster is absolutely front of mind.

It’s dramatic and disruptive but not a TV drama. The response, the recovery and reporting needs to keep this in mind.

It’s horrible for those directly impacted. It’s hard for those experiencing other peoples trauma.

Clear compassionate messaging is a must under such circumstances.

Telling people to check the Ap, is not clear compassionate messaging.

Just saying…

#humanity #trauma #accessibility #floods

The relentless flooding continues with more loss of life.

Nothing to say except heartfelt best wishes for the Central West NSW folk of Molong Eugowra Canowindra Forbes and surrounding areas.

The Flog Episode 13 comes from Sydney NSW. #floods2022 #humanity

Stress makes it hard to consume information.

In The Flog Episode 14, I go on a rant about emergency messaging.

Is emergency management information easy to use for humans under stress?

I don’t think it is.

#emergencymanagement #humans

Adaptability is the key to resilience.

Understanding is the key to assistance.

The Flog Episode 15 starts with some Covid issues affecting our household and turning the weekend upside down.

(It all worked out in the end).

Clearly I’m a bit flummoxed with my mask on inside out.

The ability to rapidly respond and adapt quickly is a continuing theme shining through as the flood crisis works it’s way along the river systems in the central and southern NSW and Victoria.

Continual problem solving is exhausting though.

The flood survivors will need our understanding and help both practically and emotionally for a long long time.

#humanity #floods #covid #resilience #adaptability #compassion

Natural disaster recovery is a process not an event.

The Flog Episode 16 shows that water is subsiding.

The water is subsiding albeit slowly but life is anything but normal for the humans directly impacted.

The humans displaced from homes and proprieties are exhausted. They make emotional pleas. “I hope they don’t forget us”.

Spare a thought for displaced families living in tiny holiday units balancing the end of the school year, the after effects of trauma, day jobs, property cleanup, navigatong insurance and relief program paperwork and bureaucracy.

Or displaced retirees coming to terms with their home of 50 years being absolutely trashed.

Just two of so many scenarios being played out right now.

floods2022 #humanity

Pictures tell endless stories.

The Flog Episode 17.

The flood fall out for us is minor to moderate.

The flood fall out for many is major to catastrophic.

Some of nature’s creatures though, are enjoying the conditions.

It’s a humbling reminder that we humans and our agrarian pursuits are just tiny pieces in the puzzle of life on planet earth.

Sending love to those on the Edwards and Murray who are battling major flooding today in NW Vic and SW NSW.

And of course much love to those dealing with the aftermath.

#humanity #agriculture #floods #nature #biodiversity

Warning- pretty blue insects are mating in this clip!

Wet season harvests are slow, painfully slow.

Welcome to the Flog Finale Episode 18).

In this episode I give a shout out to the farming community who are harvesting their year’s work.

It’s a time when the produce is collected from the fields and depending on the selling plan- converted to income over the next 9 months.

It’s a time full of action but also anticipation, anxiety and after a while, some agro especially when tiredness kicks in.

Harvests are always stressful and in Climate Mood A years (La Nina plus IOD negative) – they can be even more so.

This one in especially challenging because it’s all happening at once!

The East coast from Queensland to Vic are harvesting at once and contract harvesters that work from North to South are behind schedule.

Crops are heavy and tangled from the weather so it’s slow going.

The threat of more inclement weather is front of mind.

Grain price in some commodities has dropped sharply. This is to be expected in a year where global price volatility is extreme but it is alway a difficult pill to swallow.

Production wise, at a macro level the National forecast is strong.

And for the majority, when harvest is done and dusted and income projections are certain, there will be a nod to a challenging but very fruitful year.

For those directly impacted by a sodden season, especially in NSW and parts of Victoria there’s a range of outcomes from difficult to disappointing to devastating.

What ever the outcome is, these forever farmers will find away to grow their future.

That’s what we do.

This is most likely the final Flog

Many thanks for the loyal watchers. I trust it’s been a useful and real insight.

It’s time for this human to have a few weeks lie down and watch some cricket.

#floods #harvest #humanity #farming