An Israeli copes with the Australian deluge

Efrat Sudai will be spending Pessah in Tel Aviv to be looked after by her family, "as only they know how."

January 20, 2011 04:57
3 minute read.
The town of Chinchilla in Queensland, Australia

Australia floods 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)


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BRISBANE – Efrat Sudai delayed a trip to Tel Aviv until Pessah – and saved her Brisbane home from the Australian floods.

The 31-year-old acupuncturist initially prepared for the deluge by moving her refrigerator and washing machine to a neighbor’s unit above her ground-floor duplex, and expected to stay put and see out the floods. But her partner Andy’s father drove 40 minutes from his home with a load of empty boxes and told the couple to pack everything, including their dog, Bob, and leave the unit.

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Efrat had been planning to take Andy to Tel Aviv to meet her parents this month, but decided to delay the trip until Pessah.

“Coming from such a dry country as Israel, who would believe these flood could do the damage they did,” she said.

“We thought we would be safe as our unit is about 200 meters from the river. But the street on which we live also houses storm water drains, so when the floods hit, our home was badly affected. We went back the first time and could actually get into the house; the water had reached the property. [But we] returned three hours later and could not access our home.”

When things improved late last week, Sudai was joined by a team of volunteers in cleaning out her home. But she hasn’t been able to move back in yet, and described the scene.

“The water reached a height of about a meter,” she told The Jerusalem Report. “The walls, floors and doors are very badly damaged and will need replacing.

We got huge help from our neighbors and friends, with more than 15 people helping to clean up the mess.

The mud has a terrible smell and is full of worms. My bathroom has got white tiles but there is not one to be seen.

They are covered in brown silt.

Volunteers brought commercial hoses and spent more than eight hours cleaning out the place last Friday.”

Sudai fell in love with Australia when she traveled there at the age of 18 after completing school in Tel Aviv. Two years later, life in Australia lured her back from her home in the Tel Aviv suburb of Hadar Yosef, and from her parents, Ilana and Shaul, and young brother, Ofer.

“We are a very close family and we talked twice a day during the floods, so they were kept well informed,” she told the Post.

Although “Little Israel” in the beach-side Sydney suburb of Bondi had been her number one choice, Sudai happily settled for Brisbane, where she had the opportunity to study acupuncture, a profession she has now been practicing for six years. Today, she is living there with Israeli friends. It may be several months before she, Andy and Bob can move back into their home, which remains without power.

“It’s not easy living out of a suitcase and we cannot afford to rent another place,” she explained. “So it looks like we will have to squat with various friends. But if necessary, we get a mattress into the house so that we have somewhere to sleep.”

Sudai has not been in Israel since Rosh Hashana 2009, although her brother visited her last year in Brisbane.

“I miss the Israeli culture and the warmth of my family,” she said. “My parents told me not think for a second about not coming home for Pessah... I am looking forward so much to seeing my family and being looked after as only they know how.”

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