Helping or hindering in a time of flood

I was a recent visitor to an area of Australia that is fast gaining a reputation as being “the” destination for fun, food and… floods. Which prompts the question: as travellers, are we better off avoiding these areas altogether while authorities and locals work through the physical recovery, or should we just go regardless and pump our dollars into these suffering communities?

floodHigh tide on the Tweed River at Chinderah, NSW

After last year’s torrid wet season, Queensland and Northern NSW just can’t seem to take a trick – rain and flooding has hit this year too, with the weather boffins predicting more to come.

The effects on the tourism industry and related businesses has been devastating, to the point where a manufacturing industry-style bailout may be necessary.

So… to go or not to go?

Our recent trip was a good test of this question, as we watched the rain come down on the TV news in the days leading up to our departure. With a day to go and roads flooded near our destination, I couldn’t stand it any longer – I had to call the resort.

I started cautiously “Hi, we’re due to arrive tomorrow and I wanted to gauge whether it’s still advisable and… er, safe?”

A sprightly young voice said “Oh yes of course, no problems! There was a few roads closed earlier today but its all open now…!”

I countered with “Ok then, and what about the forecast – it looked pretty bleak on the weather channel?”

An equally bright reply came “Oh yes there will be some more rain, but nothing to stop you coming. Oh I think it just stopped raining right then!”

I envisaged a scene of a torrential downpour wiping left to right and being replaced by one of sun, families picnicking and a pretty rainbow hovering overhead. It was quite clear the resort staff had been coached in playing down all weather related issues.

The call did little to relieve my troubled mind, but did make me feel that we should go, and help. There may have been some rain, but it wasn’t World War III. The worse thing that could happen would be our flight would be diverted to Brisbane and we’d have to bus down, perhaps waiting here and there for flooded roads to subside.

In the end, the risk was worth the rewards – our holiday went ahead as planned and we injected our cash into the local economy. Win-win.

The conclusion? Unless its declared a disaster area, you’ll definitely be helping.

My latest credit card bill is a testament to that.

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