World — 15 January 2011

Here is a brief sitrep of the Australian flood emergency, which now includes four states – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

The major Australian banks have agreed to waive ATM fees for non customers who use their automatic teller machines to get cash during the flood emergency.

Queensland

The flood waters in Queensland are subduing, and the cleaning up begins.

People are still returning to their homes and everywhere people are putting aside their heartbreak and getting on with the task of assessing the damage and removing the debris. The streets of Brisbane are being filled with flood-damaged furniture and personal posessions, a scene which one journalist described as “a garage sale from hell”.

An army of volunteers is gathering at points all over Brisbane. There are four assembly areas across the city. People are asked to go there and register with photo IDs. They will need to bring their own drinking water and food for the day. They will be bussed to work to do a four hour shift and then bussed back to the registration point.

Brisbane’s clean-up assembly point locations and transport

  • Doomben Racecourse, Hampden St, Ascot – Main entrance Gate 5.
  • Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Melaleuca Drive, Boondall – follow signs to the main foyer.
  • Macgregor State High Assembly Hall, parking at Eight Mile Plains bus station or Upper Mt Gravatt park n ride
  • Mt Coottha Botanic Gardens Auditorium, Mt Coottha Rd.

For more info on volunteering in Brisbane, including pdf files to read and registration forms, click here: http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/#volunteer

The main site for registering with the Queensland Government for unpaid volunteer work to help out with the Queensland flood emergency is: http://www.emergencyvolunteering.com.au/

The cost to Queensland of this flood disaster is now estimated to be more than $5 billion.

Police are investigating a sexual assault at the at the RNA show-grounds yesterday. This is the main evacuation centre in Brisbane, where displaced persons are being accommodated during the flood emergency. The attack allegedly occurred just before 7pm in the amenities area. Police investigations are continuing.

The Australian Defence Forces (ADF) has moved more than 340 metric tonnes of food supplies to different areas right across Queensland. Much of it being carried by Unimog four-wheel-drive army trucks.

The former Australian Prime Minister, Mr Kevin Rudd, has suffered a foot infection from the hightly toxic and infectious waters of the Brisbane floods. He was admitted to the Mater Private Hospital in Brisbane at about 9:30 pm (AEST) last night.

He was treated in hospital and released at around midnight.

This should be a clear warning to other people not to enter the dirty flood waters, unless it is strictly necessary. People cannot see what is in the water near them, and even the smallest scratch or cut can mean an infected wound.

Queensland Health chief Jeannette Young has said we can expect the recent flooding to bring with it an increase in mosquito-borne diseases.

New South Wales

The flood waters in the northern NSW town of Goondiwindi have stayed below the 11 meter leevee so far, and the water levels in the MacIntyre River appear to be falling. At midnight the river measured 10.6 metres — about 14 inches below the top of the emergency barrier.

Flood waters are now causing flood emergencies in the state of Victoria and in the north of Tasmania, the large island state in the Tasman Sea south of Victoria.

Victoria

In Victoria, the State Emergency Services (SES) evacuated 2,000 people in the state’s north. Local residents told TV reporters that the floods were the worst they had ever seen.

There are flood alerts for the Avoca, Campaspe, Glenelg, Loddon and Wimmera Rivers. Minor flood warnings have also been issued for nine other waterways including the Maribyrnong River and the Werribbee River in Victoria’s northwest and southeastern suburbs.

Victorian Police reported that the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Skenes Creek remains closed. Local campers are being leave, but no other access is being allowed to the area.

Eight hundred residents of the small, historic goldmining town of Carisbrook were evacuated to Maryborough after flood waters threatened the area.

The town of Wickliffe Victoria is cut off by flood waters. Local residents are being moved to higher ground behind the local church.

Tasmania

Tasmanian Police report there are fears the dam at Sprent could breach. Houses below the dam are being evacuated as a precaution. Residents in the Clayton River Basin are on alert. Tasmanian SES and police are monitoring reports of large private dams overflowing to ensure they are not at risk of failing.

For further information on road closures in Tasmania, see here: http://www.police.tas.gov.au/community-alerts/55/flooding-tasmania/

Editor’s note: This report is now out of date. The afternoon sitrep is here: /australia-floods-afternoon-sitrep-for-jan-15-2011-887395.html

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About Author

David Harvey, Editor

David Harvey left school at 17 and went straight into newspapers as a cadet reporter. (He also a keen photographer and learned both trades.) He worked as a photojournalist in Hong Kong and as a war correspondent in Vietnam during the war. He moved to Australia in the late 1970s and got involved in I.T. during the mid-80s. This website is his latest venture here, combining news-gathering with the power of the internet. See: news-reporter

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