SES crews kept busy with more than 1000 flood call-outs
ARMED with willing volunteers, sandbags and lessons learnt from the previous flood, Bundaberg region SES groups have played an integral role in the community during the past two weeks.
Bundaberg SES controller Bill Daniells said the Bargara, Bundaberg, Burnett Heads, Elliott Heads, Innes Park, Moore Park Beach, South Kolan and Yandaran groups responded to more than 1000 call-outs from January 25 to February 12.
The call-outs varied from evacuations, to doing medical supply drops and animal welfare checks.
"This was much bigger (than the previous flood) in terms of the number of taskings," he said.
"It happened very quickly when it did."
Mr Daniells said volunteers had started with sandbagging and tarping roofs.
"When the tornadoes hit, that changed the focus quickly," he said.
Mr Daniells said one of the challenges faced during the floods was the limited number of boats that were available once evacuations began.
"We were stretched," he said.
"We were getting over to North at one point but when the water flow was too high, it was just too dangerous."
Mr Daniells said a lot of the volunteers had been personally affected by the floods.
"Our group leader in Bargara lost her home in the last flood, no insurance, and lost it again this time," he said.
"It's going to be very hard for a lot of people.
"I'm very proud of our members and the way they functioned - they've done an exceptional job."
While the SES volunteers were working long hours in very trying situations, Mr Daniells said it had been a great comfort for the crews to return to the Kendalls Rd headquarters to cooked meals put on by the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church.
"There was anything up to 240 a sitting they were feeding here," he said.
"They were always with a smileand very cheerful.
"Somebody described it as being like a Mash tent."
The church's spokesman, Colin Stead said it had been a privilege to have supported the work of the SES and emergency services.
"The actual organisation of the canteen was put together on about 12 hours' notice, at a time when food supplies in the local shops were depleted and the roads cut," he said.