SES crews help flood-ravaged
A CONTINGENT of more than 60 SES volunteers packed their tents and sleeping bags and left Ipswich for flood-ravaged western Queensland early yesterday.
The group, which included eight Ipswich-based volunteers, battled flood-affected roads west of Toowoomba during the arduous trip to Charleville.
From today, the 66 SES personnel, two departmental liaison officers and one paramedic will spend three hard days cleaning up the mess that has been left behind as a result of the worst flooding in 120 years.
SES regional director Eddie Bennet said 12 volunteers from the Somerset region were also part of the team of south-east Queensland SES personnel.
“They hit their first hurdle only a few hours into the trip yesterday, with road closures due to heavy rain near Dalby,” Mr Bennet said.
“They are going to have quite a task just to get there – the trip could take anything up to 15 hours.”
The blow-in volunteers are likely to spend all of their daylight hours working on the clean-up.
They will be fed by a dedicated catering team and will sleep outdoors in tents.
With even more rain forecast, the SES faces a tough and smelly task.
Ipswich SES group leader Beth Suhr said there was a good chance some of the volunteers could be sent to other flood-affected towns such as St George, Bollon and Dirranbandi.
“I remember going out to that area when the floods came in 1990, and I still remember the mess and the smell was just terrible,” Mrs Suhr said.
“All the shops and pubs will be out of action and the guys will be very isolated out there.”
Lifeline Community Care’s Ipswich division has sent three Lifeline officers to offer counselling to those affected.
Community Recovery Manager Richard Johnson said hundreds of homes had been damaged in Charleville and up to 100 people were sleeping in the evacuation centre.
Read about the big wet across Queensland ...
To keep up to date with the latest road closures across Queensland, visit www.131940.qld.gov.au.