Clinton Wright stands at the back fence of his home in Alexandra Street, East Bundaberg, wondering if he will have to evacuate again.
Clinton Wright stands at the back fence of his home in Alexandra Street, East Bundaberg, wondering if he will have to evacuate again. Scottie Simmonds

Tense wait as Burnett rises

FLOOD-WEARY residents of east Bundaberg will be sleeping with one eye open tonight.

Cheryl McDowell and Clinton Wright, both of Alexandra Street, were among the hundreds evacuated in Bundaberg when the major floods struck just after Christmas.

With the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicting the Burnett River will reach a peak of 5m tonight, Ms McDowell said she would be nervously watching the water.

At 5m, the water should not reach more than her back yard but, after having almost 1m of water in their home just over two weeks ago, Ms McDowell is nervous.

“I'm a bit fed up,” she said.

“We will put everything up high again just in case, but we are staying here unless we have to leave.”

Bundaberg Regional Council representatives dropped pamphlets off at a number homes yesterday, including in Alexandra Street, to let people know about the impending water and how they could access information.

“If we do have to get out, at least we have a bit more warning this time,” Ms McDowell said.

“We only had two hours to get everything out last time.”

To make matters worse, she has only just finished cleaning the filth from the floodwaters from her home.

“It's just been a heartbreaking couple of weeks,” she said.

“When I walked through the door I got to the kitchen and had to leave because of the smell.

“I didn't come back until most of the mud was gone.”

The family had to scrub the house with bleach to return walls to their original colour and ensure all potential disease sources were wiped out.

Just two houses down, Mr Wright was still cleaning up his rental home.

“We just got power two days ago, so we have been doing what we can,” he said.

“It's been pretty disgusting work.”

Mr Wright, who has been staying with friends since the floods hit, was not too concerned by the rising waters.

“It will probably reach our back fence and not get up much higher,” he said.

Bundaberg mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said it was not expected any homes would be evacuated.

“Council staff have door-knocked 400 homes advising people up to 6m about the situation,” she said.

“We have let them know just in case it does go higher than predicted.”

The river had reached 4.2m at 4pm yesterday, as floodwaters closed a number of roads in the area including Bourbong Street East, Targo Street and Tantitha Street.

Cr Pyefinch said the council would close more roads today as the water rose.

BOM is forecasting a shower or two for Bundaberg tomorrow.



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