Queensland floods: "Our car was one metre deep in water"

Video posted on YouTube
 
Hundreds of people fled worsening floods in the north-eastern Australian state of Queensland on Thursday as river levels continued to rise. Our Observer, on vacation in the region with her husband, was one of them.
 
Floods triggered by tropical cyclone Tasha have hit the farming and mining belt near Brisbane particularly hard, cutting road and rail links and crippling the region's all-important coal production.
 
Some 22 towns have been flooded and thousands of acres of farmland left under water, affecting over 200,000 people and destroying most of the region’s banana, mango and sugar-cane crops. Local officials have warned of food shortages in isolated areas and possible disease outbreaks from contaminated water.
 
"This is a disaster on an unprecedented scale," Queensland premier Anna Bligh told reporters. "What we've never seen is so many towns, so many communities, so many regions all affected at once. It is a miserable and heart-breaking event," she added.
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“People are putting on a brave face, but the aftershock is going to be very hard”

 
Maria Ericksen, from Sydney, Australia, was on her way to the north of Queensland with her husband in their four-wheel-drive pick-up truck when the floods hit. They were forced to turn back. She wrote about her experience on her blog.
 
We spent five hours on December 29 struggling to drive from Dalby to Barrick, a journey that usually takes thirty minutes. At one point, we were going down a road that the state government’s information website said was open (apparently they had trouble keeping up with the real-time updates), only to find ourselves nearly a metre deep in water. The water was practically going over the hood of the car, we really thought our motor would give in. A strong current was pushing us from the left and the car was drifting dangerously sideways. We couldn’t move forward, we couldn’t make a U-turn. All we could do was go into reverse as fast as we could until we were able to turn onto another road.
 
The town of Dalby was badly hit by the floods on December 30. Video posted by Maria Ericksen on YouTube.
 
We came across many other cars that weren’t as lucky. Most ordinary two-wheel-drive cars had absolutely no chance of driving through the water. They were completely stuck, and their drivers were sitting on the hoods, waiting for tow trucks to come and get them. We saw several uprooted trees drifting around - everything was made more dangerous by the fact that you couldn’t see what was going on under the water.
 
“Drivers were sitting on the hoods of their cars, waiting for tow trucks to come and get them. We saw several uprooted trees drifting around”
 
From what I saw the authorities were doing a good job coping with the disaster. The military were very active, helping stranded divers and directing people to safety. There were helicopters everywhere, rescuing people stuck in remote locations (Queensland is as big as Germany and France put together, and a lot of it is sparsely populated farmland).  I even saw a news helicopter from the Channel 9 TV station help rescue a family stuck on the roof of its house. There was also a great community spirit: people were spontaneously helping each other out, locals assisted stranded travellers.
 
Crossing a flooded road in Dalby. A few hours later, the town was closed off to the rest of the country. Video posted by Maria Ericksen on YouTube.
 
Even so, I got the impression that although everyone was trying to put on a brave face, the aftershock was going to be very hard. Twenty-two towns have been flooded, hundreds of families have lost their homes. We met a couple who had been rescued from the roof of their house the day before but were forced to leave behind their dogs, because the helicopter couldn’t take them. They were trying to go back to rescue them with ropes and equipment, and you could see the agony in the woman’s face at the thought that they may have drowned. This is a large-scale catastrophe that is obviously going to cause a lot of heartache and devastation. It will take at least a year to repair the damaged infrastructure, and even longer for farms to recover.
 
“It will take at least a year to repair the damaged infrastructure, and even longer for the farms to recover”
 
We were able to leave Queensland yesterday and are now driving through Victoria. I feel very luck to have been able to get out: I spoke to a friend on the phone who is stuck in Rockhampton: she told me there is no more food and water in stores, and that city water has been contaminated and can’t be drunk. The situation risks going from bad to worse for affected populations."
 
Our Observer filmed the damage caused by torrential rain on the road between Dalby and Warrick. Video posted on YouTube

Comments

Water Damage

While I hate seeing disasters and people getting hurt and losing property, the pictures and videos are really interesting to see. It amazes me the damage that can be done just by the weather. It would be cool if someday someone invented a way that the weather could be controlled.

Queensland Floods

I think your Eyewitness didn't understand the true story. I live in south-east Queensland, about 500Km south of Rockhampton which has received most of the attention. St George, about 600Km west of here is also having a major flood at the moment. Your Eyewitness was lucky to get out and go south when she did. Rockhampton is now completely cut off from the rest of the country.

I wonder if she realises how big Australia is. She says it's as big as France and Germany. In fact it's more than twice the size of France and Germany. The area which has been affected by the floods in central and south-east Queensland is as big as France and Germany.

She says that she left Queensland and was driving through Victoria the next day. It's a distance of 1500Km!

These floods are not just an inconvenience for tourists. They have inflicted severe damage on the lives of tens of thousands of people. The economic damage is enormous. Agricultural crops for local consumption and for export have been destroyed. The open-cast coal mines which supply half of the world's coal used in steel making are out of action. The railway lines which carry the coal and other natural resources to the ports on the coast have been destroyed and the roads throughout the region have been seriously damaged.

It will take years for this region to recover from this catastrophe.

Hi Nicholas Yes I did say we

Hi Nicholas

Yes I did say we were lucky to get out and yes I did state the area flooded was the size of France and Germany, if you read correctly I didn't say Queensland was, since I have seen about 70% of Australia I do have a little understanding how big this land is.

Yes we drove over three days across NSW and into VIC at no stage did I say I drove down in one whole hit.

I am shocked over the some of the comments I have read, if Donna and yourself are in QLD like you state I hope you are safe, I have a friend Rocky and she was lucky that she is high up.

I have not written this; I did a telephone interview a few days later.

Your tourist comment is purely lame and shows the person you are. I said the people in QLD were strong wonderful people who were going to take many years to get back to normal, I am glad most Queenslanders are not like yourself.

I live in Australia and have seen the most of the country. Have you?

Rockmad

Floods not because of cyclone

I'm no Meteorologist, I'm just a native Queenslander who has lived through many floods, but I have to set the record straight here: the small cyclone (Tasha) just before Christmas didn't produce enough rain to flood anything. It also made landfall in the far north of the state, having no effect on Brisbane and Southern Queensland, whatsoever.
The flooding that so much of the state is currently experiencing, is due to the sheer volume of rainfall and the fact that it continues to fall. The ground is simply unable to hold anymore water - barely drying on the surface on the odd days when no rain falls. All the water can do is run-off to the nearest river system, at best causing minor localised flooding.
At the time of writing, large portions of the state are still experiencing floods and more might yet flood, due to the incessant rain.
Such is life in the Sunshine State (C'est la vie - apologies for my poor French).

I am confused to where they

I am confused to where they mention the Southern part of Queensland? Also have they not reported that this is the highest water levels in most places in over 50yrs.

Donna Lee you used alot of words to really say nothing?

I feel sorry for the poor people that lost everything in the floods!

A

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