Flood to slowly subside

FLOOD levels in Ipswich will subside at a slower rate this weekend than in the days after its Wednesday peak as the city starts what will be a long and arduous clean-up process.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said at 3.45pm yesterday that flood levels in the city were 9.4 metres and falling.

It was 19.4 metres at its peak.

“The rate of fall will continue more slowly during Friday evening and during the weekend,” according to the BOM’s official flood warning.

Yesterday was the first chance people in the worst flood-affected suburbs could walk back into their homes and start cleaning.

All around the city, volunteers dropped in unannounced to pitch in and help the estimated 3000 homes and businesses affected.

Despite their own hardships, many people’s thoughts were with residents of the devastated Lockyer Valley region.

The number of Defence Force personnel involved in operations there will be doubled to 1200, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced.

“This will be the biggest deployment for a natural disaster since Cyclone Tracy,” Ms Gillard said at RAAF Base Amberley.

More roads opened around the city yesterday, but police had to warn residents to stay away from the CBD area because large traffic jams were forming and hampering Emergency Services vehicles.

About 6.45pm last night the Ipswich Motorway was reopened.

According to Energex, 8293 Ipswich homes are without power while 1876 homes in the Lockyer Valley are also without power.

Before flood-affected residents flick the electricity back on in their homes, they are being asked to have a licensed electrical contractor inspect their premises.

Skip bins are being placed throughout the city by the Ipswich City Council to help residents clear their homes of damaged and sodden goods.

A Community Recovery Centre has been set up at the Ipswich Showgrounds by council to provide medium and longer-term assistance for residents.

Council is seeking life counsellors keen to help those who have lost everything in the floods to please contact its call centre on 3810 6666.

For information on financial assistance available from the Federal Government call 180 2266.



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