Young couple loses their entire home in raging floods after running for safety
A young couple and their four-month-old baby were forced to flee in the middle of the night after waking to find their home completely flooded during NSW’s devastating weather.
In the early hours of Friday morning, Kane and Nicole Gibbons – from Wingham on the NSW Mid North Coast – made a last-minute decision to evacuate to higher ground as murky water swallowed their home.
‘We went to bed at 9pm. My husband checked to see the water level and it was still a few meters in elevation which you would think is a lot but it came up really fast,’ Mrs Gibbons told Daily Mail Australia.
Unfortunately Mr and Mrs Gibbons didn’t insure their property, which sits in a one-in-100-year flood zone, as they didn’t foresee such a catastrophic weather event happening in their lifetime.
‘Most insurers wouldn’t insure us and the small few that would give us insurance would charge us upwards of $12,000 dollars a year,’ Mrs said.
Kane and Nicole Gibbons and their four-month-old baby were forced to flee in the middle of the night after waking to find their home completely flooded during NSW’s devastating floods
The couple are now faced with the daunting reality of starting over again after losing all their valuable possessions (pictured: their flooded home)
‘If you had only lived in your house for a year would have been money well spent but if the 1 in a 100 really was the case and it didn’t flood for another 40 years we would have bought the house twice over just in insurance.’
Mr Gibbons set an alarm for 11pm to reassess the water levels, but it failed to go off and the couple slept through it.
‘Our baby Leeroy woke at 12am for a feed. I got up to the baby and Kane went to check the water,’ she said.
‘He opened the door and saw it was knee deep and at our back steps and in three quarters of our yard and through our garden shed.’
Mrs Gibbons said she fed Leeroy to stop him from fussing before grabbing a few essentials and leaving the home.
‘We got in our cars and left to go up to my dad’s house up the top of the hill. Both of the roads out were already underwater,’ Mrs Gibbons said.
‘Kane was able to drive his car up the footpath out but mine wouldn’t make it. I took the baby and our dogs to my dads and waited to hear from Kane.’
By the time Mr Gibbons made his way back to the house to move their belongings up higher, the water had come through the floor and it was too late.
‘I think the biggest shock was not really having any warning. If the baby didn’t wake up when he did, we probably would have been woken up by the water hitting our feet instead,’ Mrs Gibbons said.
The water has started to subside over the past two days, giving the couple a chance to clear their damaged furniture out and check what can be salvaged.
‘We’ve been throwing just about everything out, ripping up the carpets, cupboards and shelves,’ she said.
By the time Mr Gibbons made his way back to the house to move their belongings up higher, the water had come through the floor and it was too late. Pictured: the couple’s kitchen drawers after the flood
Mrs Gibbons said an electrician and a builder will assess the damage in the coming days to evaluate what needs to be replaced. Pictured: the aftermath of the floods in their home
‘We scrubbed the floors and hosed them and the walls off to get all the mud and crap off them and make it look and smell a little cleaner.
The couple are now faced with the daunting reality of starting over again after losing all their valuable possessions.
Mrs Gibbons said an electrician and a builder will assess the damage in the coming days to evaluate what needs to be replaced.
‘So far we know we need to do the floors, repaint, fix hot water system, redo the whole kitchen and bathroom, doors and frames, fences and I’m sure they’ll be a lot more,’ she said.
Mr Harper’s brother Owen Harper created a GoFundMe to help raise much-needed funds to get the family-of-three get back on their feet.
‘Kane and Nicole are not the type of people who ever ask for (or are willing to receive) help, yet they are always the first ones to show up and lend a hand for others,’ Mr Harper said.
‘While they are safe and dry they are going to have to start all over again when the time comes that they can re-enter their home and the clean up begins.’
Around 60,000 people have been told by the State Emergency Service to be ready to evacuate. Pictured: a home in Londonderry on the outskirts of Sydney
There have been 12,000 insurance claims so far, and that number is expected to increase dramatically. Pictured: a home on the Hawkesbury River
In the past few days there have been 11,000 calls for help to the SES and 950 flood rescues
Around 60,000 people have been told by the State Emergency Service to be ready to evacuate as several severe weather warnings remain in place and swollen catchments continue to experience flows of water not seen in 50 years in some places.
In the past few days there have been 11,000 calls for help to the SES and 950 flood rescues.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts there will be no major rain for at least a week, paving the way for the army and emergency service workers to get essential supplies to isolated communities particularly in North Richmond where floodwaters continue to rise.
There have been 12,000 insurance claims so far, and that number is expected to increase dramatically, with the government promising it will be vigilant in holding insurers to account when it came to processing claims.