Bundaberg declared a disaster area
BUNDABERG and the North Burnett have been declared a disaster area after floodwaters forced almost 400 people from their homes yesterday.
Premier Anna Bligh has launched a disaster relief appeal, kickstarting it with $1 million – which was soon matched by the federal government and added to by the Bank of Queensland ($250,000) and Suncorp ($10,000).
But the extent of the damage is yet to be determined, with water expected to inundate the region until at least Friday.
The Burnett River was at 7.75m in Bundaberg at 9.30pm yesterday, with the peak expected to reach 7.8m overnight.
In Mundubbera and Gayndah, relief was slowly coming with river heights dropping to 17.3m and 15.25m respectively.
The levels had reached 18.82m in Mundubbera and were up to 15.6m in Gayndah on Tuesday.
Thousands of megalitres of water are headed towards Bundaberg with Paradise Dam at 256% capacity and spilling more than 700,000Ml, or more than a Sydney Harbour's worth of water, each day.
The good news is minimal rain is expected in the region, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a few showers for today and tomorrow.
Premier Anna Bligh said the flood damage was “devastating” after she spoke to residents in east Bundaberg yesterday morning.
“There is a lot of heartbreak in the region,” she said.
Ms Bligh praised volunteer workers across the region and pleaded with residents to listen to what emergency services personnel were telling them and to comply with their directions.
She also said those affected were eligible for emergency funds and accommodation.
“Staff at the Civic Centre are ready to help them,” she said.
A 24-hour hotline has been set up for those who need help.
The hotline's number is 1800 173 349.
North Bundaberg residents were cut off last night after the Burnett Traffic Bridge and Tallon Bridge were closed.
The Kennedy Bridge was closed early yesterday morning, meaning the only access to east Bundaberg was via Walker Street.
Bundaberg Disaster Management Group acting chair David Batt said residents of almost 400 homes in north, east and south Bundaberg had been asked to evacuate.
“We have asked people to the 8.2m mark to evacuate just in case the waters do rise higher than expected,” he said.
Mr Batt urged residents to stay off the road as much as possible to allow emergency service crews to do their job.
Bundaberg Police Superintendent Rowan Bond also urged sight-seers to stay home.
“Sight-seers are putting a great deal of stress on the roads, so if you don't need to travel, don't go,” Supt Bond said.
To donate to the flood appeal, go to www.qld.gov.au/floods.