The main street through Forest Hill.
The main street through Forest Hill.

Valley residents start clean-up

HUNDREDS of Lockyer Valley residents have returned to their homes in Forest Hill and Laidley to begin the clean-up.

While the search and rescue continues for more than 50 people “missing” in Grantham, residents in neighbouring areas have returned to debris after the towns were inundated with floodwater.

Fortunately no lives were lost in the other communities but the heartache of loosing their possessions has devastated the community.

The entire Laidley and Forest Hill communities were out in force yesterday helping each other to clean up after Tuesday's extensive flood damage.

Laidley book shop owners Andrea and Rolly Kwast are able to see a little humour in among the debris.

A neighbouring business, a Chinese restaurant, had its side wall collapse, inundating the bookshop with food.

Maintaining her sense of humour, Mrs Kwast said her shop is now full of fried rice while the restaurant appears to be full of her damaged books.

Volunteers with front-end loaders have helped clean up the town by lifting rubbish from footpaths and yards. A constant stream of trucks is making its way to the region's refuse tip.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council chief executive Ian Flint described the region as a disaster zone.

“You've seen pictures in the past of tsunamis and cyclones, and certainly it's like all of that,” Mr Flint said.

“Houses have been washed away, infrastructure has been washed away, cars, people ... the worst possible picture that you can have is absolutely correct, particularly around the Grantham area.”

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the devastation was of “post-war proportions”, and broke down as she described the damage to Queensland communities.

Mr Flint said the primary concern in the region now is damage to the water supply.

“Our water supply has been severely damaged so we ask residents to please conserve water for absolute essentials, and we're getting tanked water, bottled water delivered this morning to alleviate the situation, but we're really facing running out of water,” he said.

Authorities have advised Withcott has already run out of water, with Helidon, Gatton and Laidley also about to run dry.

They are also working to restore power and the communications network, with most lines expected to be up and running yesterday.

Police are urging those people who have been cut off to contact them urgently once phone lines are restored.

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