Why locals can't return to Bundy's war zone just yet

FLOOD DAMAGE: The flood water swept one home away whilst its neighbour remains on Thornhill st North Bundaberg. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail
FLOOD DAMAGE: The flood water swept one home away whilst its neighbour remains on Thornhill st North Bundaberg. Photo: Scottie Simmonds / NewsMail Scottie Simmonds

THINK of a war zone and there's a good chance you're imagining the scenes found at North Bundaberg.

Holes big enough for several buses to fall in litter the roads, power poles lay strewn about, cars appear to have been picked up and thrown around by an angry giant, a home sits on the main road out of town and the streets sink beneath your feet.

I was part of a very small group of journalists allowed access to the horror at North Bundaberg yesterday but it was no simple sight-seeing trip.

Police Inspector Mark Henderson said it was important to allow some media access to the zone to help people understand why they could not yet return home - and trust me when I say there's a very, very good reason.
I was a reporter during the Bundaberg floods two years ago and the damage is indescribably worse.

Walking along Thornhill St near the Hockey grounds to inspect a pile of cars that had been thrown about and tossed together by the water, the road began to crumble beneath me and we were forced to retreat and the precarious state of the infrastructure is the same in every street.

"As you are aware we've taken precautions coming across here today but I do want to get the message through to the public of Bundaberg, this is a big steep feat that you face and particularly those here from the north side," Insp Henderson said.

"The big dangers that we're facing here is the road as you can see has big sink holes in it, power poles with transformers have sunk into the ground.

"The ongoing dangers for people to be walking around here are just not worth the risk to public life. The property can be replaced but lives can't be."

Among the most shocking sights is a house that has been carried by the floodwater on to Queen St near the IGA complex and the twisted metal that was once the train tracks.

The damage to the Tallon Bridge is horrific, the twisted pile of metal and rubble is a devastating sight to see.

Insp Henderson said crews were assessing the safety of each building and as that was done, residents would slowly be allowed back in.

"I think the biggest shock for the Bundaberg people, again particularly those of North Bundaberg, is going to be the fact that unlike previous occasions when the water has subsided and they were simply allowed to walk to their places and try the best to get on with life, there are some inhibiting factors this time round," he said.

"It certainly has been worse as infrastructure goes and it has certainly created some dangerous situations we have to work through prior to allowing people back in."

Insp Henderson stressed that people were working as hard as possible.

"We really are urging people please be patient please bear with us another few days (and) we will start to let people in where we can," he said.

"The water has started to recede and there's little doubt about it and we can see that in front of us but what it's left is a tale of destruction to the roads and the infrastructure.

"It's left this area particularly of North Bundaberg very, very badly damaged and very, very unsafe."

Despite our police escort, we were in no way safe in the disaster zone that is North Bundaberg and while it's frustrating for people who want to get home and start the cleanup, this exclusion zone is set up with one goal in mind - keeping people alive.

Topics:  editors picks exclusion zone flooding north bundaberg oswald

Mayor backs parents in fight to solve youth violence

POLICE PRIORITY: Mayor Jack Dempsey said the police should be the first port of call for people who saw or experiencing physical or verbal assaults.

But victims told they must report crimes to police

Detective says murder most complex he's investigated

VICTIM: Gary John Ryan was murdered on August 23.

Five people now charged over gruesome killing

Three Rs with a difference during Day for Daniel

DAY FOR DANIEL: St Mary's Catholic Primary School students, including Ella Belluz, Oliver Boge, Ava Gardiner and Damon Broughton, will dress in red today.

Students across region to wear red today

Local Partners

A Bundy West prep teacher prepares to bid farewell

BUNDABERG West Prep teacher Heather Robinson is an icon who will be sadly missed as she retires at the end of this year.

Foot stomping, eclectic gig coming to Bucca

GIG: 8 Ball Aitken will play at Bucca Hotel this weekend.

Blues artist plays at Bucca Hotel

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Queensland's oldest pipe band needs your support

ALL THINGS CELTIC: The Bundaberg Caledonian Pipe Band is coming to the Moncrieff.

"Keep Bundaberg's Scottish band entertaining for many more years”

MacBook fires up: New "touchbar" will include emojis

COULD emojis help the MacBook again deliver a laptop revolution?

Angus T. Jones got miserable on Two and a Half Men

Child star's misery while shooting 'Two and a Half Men'

Bachelorette shock: "This isn't how it's supposed to go!"

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

Radio presenter's shocking joke about Dreamworld victims

Images from the scene after four people died on a ride at Dreamworld at the Gold Coast

Radio host taken off air after tactless Dreamworld joke

The Bachelorette fans rally around devastated Matty J

The Bachelorette runner-up Matty Johnson.

CALLS for reality dating show's runner-up to be the next Bachelor.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

Want to own one of Australia's best restaurants?

TOP GONG: Mooloolaba Spice Bar has been named in TripAdvisor's Top 10 Australian restaurants for 2016.

Here's your chance to pick up one of the Coast's favourite eateries

Drop in rental vacancies for Bundaberg

ALL OVER: The decline was across the state.

Encouraging signs for market

6 houses in Gympie under $200,000

$170, 000, 9 Norman St, Gympie

These Gympie houses are perfect for investors or first home-buyers

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance