The Queensland town of Rockhampton is now completely cut off by floodwaters as the heavy rainfall and flooding in the region continues.
The Fitzroy River, already causing huge problems, including the evacuation of many hundreds of homes, is expected to rise further, to a peak of around 9.7 metres on Wednesday, 5th January 2011.
At least 10 people have been killed by the region’s flooding to date.
According to the State Premier, Anna Blith, who was speaking to the local ABC broadcasters, the last road out of the Rockhampton, a town of 75,000 inhabitants, is now completely under water, effectively stranding all residents who remain in the town until the rivers recede.
Speaking to the ABC, Blith said:
“We’re really still in the middle of an unfolding disaster,”
“That means not only are there supply issues for Rockhampton, but of course towns like Mackay, Townsville and Cairns that are north of there.”
“The Australian Defence Force this morning started flights with C130s out of Amberley to resupply food, taking it into Mackay and then driving it down into Rockhampton.”
“Keeping these towns supplied while they are cut off is one of our main priorities right now.”
Ms Bligh says the clean-up efforts in flood-ravaged towns are going to be a mammoth task that will continue for a long time.”
“We have some towns and cities now starting the heart-breaking business of clean-up and recovery, while we’re still in response mode in places like Rockhampton, St George and in that south-west area,”
“As we turn to recovery there’s certainly some big logistical issues. The city of Emerald, for example, we flew 13 tonnes of cleaning equipment and disinfectant in there this morning and they need more. So that’s just one town.”
The ADF has been drafted in to help issue supplies in the flood-stricken region, and has already evacuated people from the towns of Theodore, Emerald and Condamine.
Three Black Hawk helicopters are adding to the assistance offered by the ADF, however, as the Premier indicates, much of the hard work will be in the future, when the water has receded:
“I expect to see this unfold for months, frankly. Once the water goes down there is still a lot of work to be done.”