Lo­cal SES crews to join clean-up

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FLOOD CRISIS: SPECIAL REPORT - SAM SMALL­BONE

TASK­FORCE teams from the Dou­glas Shire SES Ser­vice Unit are be­ing sent down south this week to as­sist the in­creas­ing num­ber of vic­tims af­fected by the Queens­land floods in Emer­ald and Bris­bane.

Moss­man SES con­troller Bob Tay­lor said the lo­cal has been on standby dur­ing the floods and could re­ceive a call at any time.

“I re­ceived a text mes­sage at 5.50pm Mon­day af­ter­noon and had an hour-and-a-half to nom­i­nate more peo­ple to go down south - a to­tal of 22 SES of­fi­cers from the Dou­glas re­gion are be­ing sent to Bris­bane some time be­fore Jan­uary 21,” he said.

The of­fi­cers are still un­aware of the ex­act lo­ca­tion they will be sent to how­ever po­lice have been ad­vis­ing mem­bers of the com­mu­nity who live near the Bris­bane River or at West End to move to higher ground.

The Bris­bane air­port was closed yes­ter­day and most of the roads have been blocked, there­fore to com­bat the is­sue they are pre­par­ing to fly to the team to the Gold Coast and drive them up to Bris­bane.

Queens­land Premier Anna Bligh called the dis­as­ter in Toowoomba “the dark­est hour of the last fort­night” and floods in Bris­bane are ex­pected to be greater than the Mother Na­ture’s work in 1974.

Moss­man mem­ber Linda Collins was sent to Emer­ald on Jan­uary 2 to help clean badly dam­aged shop­ping cen­tres and busi­nesses.

Ms Collins has been work­ing for the SES for three years and ad­mits that Emer­ald was her tough­est job.

“You could def­i­nitely see where roads had been washed away and large rocks had been moved by the force of the cur­rent in the wa­ter,” she said.

“When we ar­rived it was at night time, so it wasn’t un­til the next day that we saw the ex­tent of the dam­age.

“By the time we got there a lot of the wa­ter had re­ceded but you could see where the wa­ter lev­els had been on the side of build­ings and it would have been ap­prox­i­mately one me­tre high and you could see that the wa­ter cur­rent had knocked large trees over.”

Her team of about 22 SES vol­un­teers worked to­gether clean­ing out a small shop­ping cen­tre and pet store which took up to three days.

“There was a lot of mud, mos­qui­toes, silt and sewage to clean. The smell was re­ally bad and there was a lot to clean,” she said.

“To­wards the air­port you could see the wa­ter cur­rent wash­ing out the rail line. You could imag­ine what the lo­cals were go­ing through.”

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