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Floods Will Hit Australia Hard Long After Water Goes


Our friend and fellow broadcaster Richard Glover joins us from the studios of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney. Richard, thanks so much for being with us.

RICHARD GLOVER: Scott, it's a pleasure. I was thinking about the last time I got the chance to talk to you and it was from the Victorian bushfires, the like of which we'd never even seen in Australia, and 173 people died. And I talked to you about the devastation of that day, and here we are two years later and we're talking about flooding in Victoria, in New South Wales, and most dramatically in Queensland.

SIMON: Help us understand what this has meant to people.

GLOVER: People have talked about the 10, 20, 30 Olympic swimming pools a second coming down, this kind of enormous force of water. The cleanup is beginning but the devastation has been incredible.

SIMON: Richard, is this cycle of drought and flooding something that Australians know well?

GLOVER: Hmm. You know, there's been a debate about global warming and, you know, I guess most people think it probably - it probably is worse and it may have an impact. But yes, it is something which we are used to.

SIMON: And the curious thing about the floods, of course, is even though they're terrible and destructive, they also bring with them - in some parts of the country - this incredible life. I mean the desert has bloomed in this amazing way, wildflowers through the desert. Almost biblical lushness comes to the inland of Australia.

SIMON: You know, Richard, we still hear from people about our conversation in 2009, about the wildfires and what happened to koalas, who are - well, who are beloved figures, I think, in America, as well as Australia. How are they doing? How are the animals doing?

GLOVER: Well, you know, you'd want to be up a tree, wouldn't you? Like a koala. I mean, again, the animal life is such a part of Australia, isn't it? Because the rains brought mice, because there was suddenly all this lush growth, the mice brought snakes. And so one of the problems for the poor people of Queensland is that just as they've have been trying to cope with all the mud sluicing around their house and the water, they've found the one dry room in the house and - guess what - there's a few other visitors there too.

SIMON: Thanks so much, Richard.

GLOVER: Thank you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.