Watson shocked by floods
Australian cricketer Shane Watson is planning to return to his home town of Ipswich to help flood victims.
Last Updated: 13/01/11 12:31pm
Australia all-rounder Shane Watson is planning to return to his home town to help those affected by recent flooding.
Watson was born and raised in Ipswich, which is 30 kilometres west of Brisbane, and his parents and sister still live there.
"I'll be doing everything I can to get back there as soon as I can to help out because my heart is there, my family is there," he said.
"I love playing and I have a lot of fun doing it, but in the end what we do is inconsequential compared to the heartache and the devastation that is going through my home town at the moment."
At least 25 people have died and dozens more have been injured in Queensland after torrential rains which have drenched the state since November forced rivers to burst their banks, inundating an area larger than France and Germany combined.
Highways and rail lines have been washed away in the disaster, which is shaping up to be Australia's costliest.
Watson, currently part of Australia's one-day squad for the matches against England, has been left to watch the disaster unfold on the television news.
The one-day series is due to move to Brisbane on January 30, when Watson will get the chance to see first-hand the effects of the floods.
"It's going to take a long, long time for people to pick up the pieces," said Watson.
"It blows my mind to think how in the world so much water can be there. The river is a fair way away from the main street.
"It's sad to see what's going on and to see the Mayor of Ipswich, Paul Pisasale, as shattered as he is is devastating."
Watson's family have been lucky to avoid the devastation with their houses on higher ground in the town, which has a population of 170,000.
"My sister said this afternoon (Jan 13) she went and had a bit of a look from a higher vantage point and she said it was just horrific," he added.
"(We were) talking about all the places I know so very well, my primary school is just about going under. It's horrendous.
"Over the past couple of days for me personally it has put things into perspective of exactly what cricket means and what life means with all the devastation."
Australia and England's players have donated part of their match fees from the opening Twenty20 international in Adelaide to the Premier Flood Relief Appeal, while a coin collection at the ground yielded 28,000 Australian dollars (£17,700).
Cricket Australia has pledged that the Brisbane one-day match will be used as a fundraiser for the appeal while other events are also planned.
England's Kevin Pietersen is also aiming to raise more than £10,000 from an auction for some of the equipment he used in his side's Ashes success this winter.
Watson revealed he was also investigating ways in which he can raise funds.
"I'm still trying to think about exactly what I can do," he said. "It is hard to try and think about what impact I can have.
"In the end I'm going to be joining with Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association to do everything I possibly can to make sure that, for me personally, Ipswich is looked after. It is my home town.
"I'll be getting in contact with the mayor once things subside a little bit and see what I can do."