The media must look beyond the death and destruction. Important questions arise from the floods across Queensland and NSW and traumatised residents will want answers.

The blame game has begun in earnest in some sections of the media. In Crikey today, a prominent academic on public inquiries backs the calls for a Royal Commission sooner rather than later.

“The Bligh government should seize this opportunity, tell the people ‘we’ve been working our guts out and when things have settled we’ll set up a review of how things were managed and how they can be done better’,” says Professor Scott Prasser, executive director of the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic University.

But what we must not forget is this remains a very human story. A story of immediate and abject devastation for many. Toowoomba resident Jim Forbes writes today:

“I headed the couple of blocks downtown to collect my bike, chained up at the bus station since Monday. Police tape flapped in the wind. Lumps of street surface lay about like fragments at the bottom of a biscuit box. Muddied workers with glazed eyes sluiced out shops. The National Hotel looked like it had served Mother Nature one too many, and copped a glassing for its efforts. Michael Usher and his Channel Nine crew, gathering footage of the recovery efforts, stood aside politely as I shuffled past. A woman stood staring, body shuddering with tears. Blackhawks thundered by overhead, as the sun beat down, steam and stink rising. Dystopia in the summertime.”

People need help. Before they need answers.