A HUDDERSFIELD man living in Australia has praised the community spirit shown after last week’s devastating floods.

Ian Walton, of Skelmanthorpe, spent the weekend working with hundreds of volunteers trying to restore normality to large swathes of Brisbane.

The city was devastated when the Brisbane River burst its banks and flooded thousands of homes and businesses.

The flood risk has now moved on to Victoria, where communities were sandbagging their properties as they nervously watched four river systems rising from heavy rains upstream.

More than 3,500 people have evacuated their homes in north-central Victoria state, where some towns are predicting the worst floods in 100 years.

People were watching warily after witnessing the devastation floods have wreaked in Queensland state.

Three weeks of flooding in the north-eastern state left a vast territory under water and caused 28 deaths, most of them from a flash flood that hit towns west of Brisbane on Monday. Fourteen people are still missing.

Mr Walton’s home in the West End area was close to the edge of the Brisbane floods and he told how the whole area had been deluged under water and then thick, putrid-smelling mud.

The mining metallurgist, however, has been delighted by the new community spirit shown in the aftermath.

“The scale of generosity has been great. All ages, walks of life and nationalities here in West End are helping.

“There have been donations to the emergency fund from across the globe.

“The scale of the clean-up is massive. The smell of the mud and debris left behind is offensive and food ruined by the floods is now rotting in the heat.

“Waiting for the river to recede further are the muddied, but salvaged, boats in mud dock on the banks of the river. They were salvaged through the roof of the boat houses as the river rose so quickly. They are now nestled on the banks where the markets would normally have been held yesterday.

“It will be a while before they get used again, if only for all the flow and rubbish in the river.

“The power of the flow of the flood can be seen in the small pier that is now twisted vertical, ripped and bent pipes jutting from the river and barriers buckled on the street.

“The river still has some way to fall to be back to normal levels, but at least it isn’t threatening any more.

“Spare a thought for our brothers and sisters down south in Victoria who are now evacuating and also those across the globe who have lost hundreds of lives in mud slides in Brazil. No doubt there will be the same spirit of rebuilding and survival there, but also suffering with the loss of life.”

He added: “There is a community feel about West End anyway. Yesterday was something special though. Strangers were talking to strangers – I even managed to talk to the beautiful girls here who had turned up with their gear and gone around houses offering help to any house needing it.

“There were people out offering drinks to keep people refreshed. Water, beer…

“People from all over. Australians, Kiwi’s, Poms, Uruguayans. This happened in Queensland, but the world that is here in Queensland are all chipping in.

“Just so much generosity and kindness”.