"You might smile and move on, but it's still there".
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They're the words of Molong Stores owner Robbie Carroll. Behind the smiles, the trauma of last year's flood disaster still lingers; and he's not the only one who feels the mental anguish.
From two of the hardest flood-hit towns in the Cabonne Shire, the Central Western Daily asked a dozen people from across Eugowra and Molong if they'd stay in the event of another major flood.
With mental scars left behind in its wake, many impacted business owners and residents across the region share similar views.
Hitting the streets in the lead-up to marking 12 months since devastating floodwater tore through the Central West, evidence of the former deluge is still widely prevalent.
Fears surround lacking plans for the next natural disaster; and the one they're still recovering from on a daily basis.
No, it's trauma, you know, and it's almost a year to the day and everyone is still traumatised.
There's heavy, heavy trauma. There was a picture in today's paper and it makes you nearly want to cry.
[My partner] was stuck in here for four hours on a chair, like that's trauma that's set there for life and I can't even dramatise it in my head because it's too much.
It's just revolting to think about it and you might smile and move on, but it's still there.
It never leaves and it's a scary thing, because it's a hell of a lot to deal with.
I just couldn't do it again mentally, it's been too exhausting and if it's going to happen again, then it's going to happen again and again and again.
I'm not that resilient and I don't think the town is that resilient.
And I don't think the town would fight back because most businesses would leave and just go, say 'I'm done'.
I'm walking away. It's Australia, it's a big country. There'll be room somewhere for us.
Yes, definitely [there are people suffering in silence] and I don't think that the government businesses that are in place to deal with this sort of thing are enough to cope.
No, I wouldn't stay, because I don't want to put myself through that emotional and financial pain again. I think I'd just walk away quietly, just bow while waving the white flag.
If my business gets completely demolished again, I'm going and I know others will go as well, because that's the truth.
It would be the deal breaker for a lot of businesses in town and we're not mentally prepared.
We've been so busy trying one thing after the next, trying to deal with insurance companies, opening our businesses and getting back to it all.
But I can see a lot of us falling apart if we don't deal with it and I haven't fully dealt with it, because it's been put to the side so many times.
We've been focused purely on getting back to business, but emotionally, it's all still sitting there.
I'm just looking forward to what I'm going to do when this [debris] is gone, because I've bought all of these containers to build a container home.
My mum used to want to do that and I guess I've got the chance to do it now.
I've just tried to keep it positive, but it's not easy, it's hard.
There are residents who are at risk of suicide and it just kind of paints a picture of how differently people deal with different things.
No, not at all.
I cannot deal with the clean-up, the re-build, the fighting with the insurance companies and even the process for the grant that we were given, the information that you had to provide to get that money was exhausting.
You just run out of energy and when you're still trying to run a business in all of it, you just don't have the time to get all of that information.
It's drains you.
That's a tough one to answer.
I think I would stay, but whether or not I'd be running two businesses again, that's a different story.
It'd test a lot of people, I'll tell you what.
It's a lot to ask for someone to come back from that again, so I'd say no, probably not.
At the time, we had fresh blood and we were about to get up and get going, but coming back around a second time, I don't think so.
If one of us was keen to have a crack and go again, then surely the other would pick up their socks and just do it, but who knows where either of us would mentally be after another flood?
I'd really like to say yes, that we'd stay and be here for our community, but I just don't know.
If it happened again, I think we'd all just leave.
I think the town will fall apart, because I don't think anyone at the moment would have the stamina to do it again.
Maybe the next generations might be able to [handle it], who knows?
I think there are a lot of businesses that would just go, unless they found premises that were out of the flood zone.
I think we can only take so much, being inundated and losing all of your money to flood, because we're obviously not getting covered.
Quite a few disasters on top of each other would be very dramatic again and I think it would be a big mental strain for a lot of people.
I just don't think people could cope with another disaster in such a short time.
I guess you have no choice when you can't sell your house.
You can't sell any house here, so you wouldn't have enough [money] to move anywhere.
We wouldn't move now, but if we were a bit older we probably would. But again, we'd have nothing to sell, so you'd have to just stay and ride it out again.
I'm not actually sure whether I could do it again, I mean, I'm 76 now and we'd look at [continuing], but I'd have to reconsider whether or not I could really cope again.
It's pretty tough and it was a major event, so it takes a lot out of you.
I don't know that we'd go out of business, we might consider doing it somewhere else.
But I did get a lot of support from other people in town, so I'd have to consider them as well.
So many people in town were affected and there's a large demographer of older people here, so you just don't know if they'd be able to stick it out or not.
It all comes up, when you hear their story and how they suffered, [and] it's still top of the list when you get a few people together.
There's trauma everywhere.
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