Messages of support, aid, flow in from all directions
MORE than 7500 people have been left homeless and about 3000 homes destroyed after the Burnett River reached a peak of 9.525m, the highest in recorded history.
Authorities say the floodwater will now take days to recede and only then will the full extent of the devastation be known.
Premier Campbell Newman, along with Bundaberg MP and Police Minister Jack Dempsey, toured the flood-stricken city yesterday with Mayor Mal Forman.
Mr Dempsey, whose own home yesterday had water creeping up the driveway, paid tribute to emergency crews and defence force staff who had been working tirelessly to save lives.
"We've seen over 1000 air evacuations in the last 24 hours," he said yesterday morning.
"Last night alone we had 98 people in one spot in North Bundaberg that were isolated, having to be brought into choppers and taken to a safe evacuation centre."
Mr Newman said Bundaberg was the state's main priority.
"I've come up here today because the city of Bundaberg is the centre of the floods crisis here in Queensland," he said as he toured the region.
"This is the number one priority for myself and my government to do everything we can for the people of this city."
Mr Newman said he had received calls from Prime Minister Julia Gillard, government officials in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and even New Zealand Prime Minister John Key with offers of support.
The ministers were involved in an early disaster management meeting, at which council infrastructure and planning head Andrew Fulton spoke about issues facing the region.
"Our first priority is water supply," he said.
"A lot of our support for both water and sewerage has been compromised."
Mr Fulton said Bundaberg's water supply was still operational and a temporary lab had been set up to monitor chlorine levels because the main lab had been lost to the disaster.
"The coastal system is operational; Gin Gin is not operational; and I'm unsure at this stage how much water is left in the high-level tank," he said. "Woodgate and Childers are operational, and there are a number of other minor systems and we don't know how they're performing."
Mr Fulton said sewerage was also an issue with the treatment plants at east, north and Millbank shut down.
"Thabeban is operational; Bargara is operational; Woodgate (and) Childers is operational; and Gin Gin is non-operational," he said.
"Our main pump stations in the city, the majority of those are not operational, and the number one priority in sewerage once the waters go down is to get those major pumping stations operational to just get the sewage away from the residential areas."
Mayor Mal Forman said he hoped the water would recede by the weekend so the clean-up could begin.
"We're going to have a huge clean-up bill here and it's going to be a huge clean-up effort," he said.
"We will have a lot of hardship ... but there's a great community spirit out there of working together."
At a press conference late yesterday, Mr Dempsey said while social media sites had been a great source of communication throughout the disaster, he warned there had been misinformation spread across some Facebook pages about looting, the state of evacuation centres and bridge conditions.
"There has only been one report of a break and enter, but it was not in the flood area," he said.
Superintendent Rowan Bond also urged social media users to go to trusted websites or Facebook pages for correct and regularly updated information.
Mr Dempsey also said it was expected that the Bruce Hwy would be open today.
- 7500 people have been displaced
- 3000 homes have been affected
- 200 businesses affected
- 80 aged and frail were evacuated from the RSL Fairways to Gooburrum State School. They were expected to be transferred to the AgroTrend grounds late yesterday.
- 700 of the 1500 who evacuated to Oakwood State School remain there
- 98 people rescued from one spot in North Bundaberg overnight Monday
- 42 Bundaberg Hospital patients were transferred to Brisbane on Monday night, and another 42 were flown out late yesterday.