A devastated property at Grantham.
A devastated property at Grantham. Melanie Maeseele

Residents reach out to evacuees

A CARING touch and a friendly smile are helping the Lockyer Valley community through its darkest hour.

Thousands of residents have been evacuated as devastating flooding wiped out towns and inundated others on Monday afternoon.

More than 500 residents in Forest Hill and Laidley were airlifted by Black Hawk helicopters to two evacuation centres in Gatton on Tuesday.

There to greet them were friendly smiles from residents and plenty of food to help put them at ease.

The region's Salvation Army pitched in, spending thousands of dollars on blankets and pillows.

But the community was reeling from one of the state's worst natural disasters. Fourteen people are confirmed dead, grave concerns are held for nine more and 51 people are missing.

Eight specialised counselling teams have been sent to the Lockyer Valley to help residents cope with their grief as the death toll was expected to reach 30 or more.

Lockyer Valley Mayor Steve Jones said the extent of damage across the region was “horrendous”.

“What has gone on in the Lockyer Valley and Grantham in particular, is unimaginable. It's like an atomic bomb has gone off,” Cr Jones said.

“I don't know how we are going to fix this or where to start but what I do know is that in communities like these people stick together and help each other.”

Cr Jones said the road to recovery would be a long process.

As volunteers took care of evacuees, police were continuing to search for people and council workers were trying to clean debris off roads and check the stability of the area's bridges.



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