Monday, January 3, 2011


HERALDSUN REPORT- ROCKHAMPTON is now completely cut off by raging flood waters that are not expected to peak for another couple of days.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh confirmed that the last route into the city has become inundated by the natural disaster.Rockhampton

RISING WATER: An aerial view of flooded areas of Rockhampton. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen Source: The Australian

ROCKHAMPTON is now completely cut off by

"The highway is cut at Rockhampton," Ms Bligh told the ABC's 7.30 Report last night.

"Rockhampton is now completely stranded - a town of 75,000 people - no airport, rail or road."

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been flying tonnes of food and medical supplies to Mackay so they can be trucked south to the town.

Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter said that the 9.4m flood peak was expected to remain for one to two days, and the waters would take a long time to recede.

Already, 1400 properties are affected in Rockhampton. Evacuation centres are now preparing for up to 1000 residents as the floods take hold.

Many are already underwater, and police have been wading through chest-high water to ensure no one is left in inundated properties.At 9.4m, about 400 homes are expected to be inundated, with thousands more parcels of land affected.

Now that the Bruce Highway to the north is cut, three ADF Black Hawk helicopters sent to Rockhampton from Emerald will provide the town's critical lifeline.

Ms Bligh also said that the floods have halted operations at 75 per cent of Queensland's coal fields.

"There is likely to be a significant long term effect of that and not only nationally but internationally," she said.

Queensland supplies half of the world's coking coal needed in steel manufacturing, Ms Bligh said.

Meanwhile, a third person in two days has died in the flood crisis in central Queensland.

The person was killed after surging waters swept their car off a causeway at Aramac, police said yesterday.

Police believe there were two people in the car, but the second person escaped.

Chief Superintendent Alistair Dawson has told reporters in Brisbane the victim was the 10th person to die since the state's floods began.

"I'd like to reinforce with the community not to drive through flooded roads, but more importantly pay attention to road closed signs," he said.

They are there for a purpose and that purpose is the protection of life."

Yesterday morning, the body of a 38-year-old fisherman was recovered 13km away from where he was last seen near Gladstone.

On Sunday, the body of a 44-year-old woman was found 2km from where she was swept away.

With catchments across the state at record peaks and dams overflowing, concerns are mounting that severe wet weather and the high chance of another cyclone will see towns ravaged more than once this summer.

Experts have warned the flood risk is not over for the storm season.

Emergency Management Queensland acting assistant director-general Warren Bridson said authorities were "very conscious'' of the likelihood that more wet weather could be around the corner.

"The Bureau of Meteorology predicted this to be a very severe wet season,'' Mr Bridson said.

"We still have three months ahead of us, so we must expect lots more of what we're currently having.'' In November, weather bureau chief Jim Davidson gave an unprecedented warning to the Bligh Government about the possibility of five or six cyclones this season.

"We've had one,'' Mr Bridson said.

"Theoretically we have four to go.''

Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said authorities were taking the advice very seriously.

"Disaster groups are obviously focusing on dealing with this particular situation, but their minds are certainly looking to the future,'' he said.

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