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Blanket of mud revealed in Rockhampton

By Paul Robinson and Alice Roberts, Tuesday February 5, 2013 - 10:12 EDT

Hundreds of backyards in low-lying suburbs of Rockhampton, in central Queensland, are starting to emerge from floodwaters as the Fitzroy River continues to drop.

The Fitzroy River has dropped to 7.5 metres this morning, after peaking at 8.6 metres over the weekend.

That is allowing more roads to open, including the Capricorn Highway to Gracemere.

The river peak was still more than a metre below the 2011 flood level but more than 1,000 backyards had water through them.

As the river levels drop the water is being replaced by thick, foul-smelling mud.

Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow has organised volunteers to take up 'mud army' duties on Saturday but residents, State Emergency Service and fire crews have already started cleaning up where the water has dropped enough.

Meanwhile, councillor Strelow says the council will review its flood processes after flash flooding in the communities of Bajool and Stanwell.

About 30 homes were inundated after torrential rain more than a week ago.

She says residents have suggested a box with phone numbers, radios and high-visibility vests be placed in the town hall for future emergencies.

Cr Strelow says community leaders emerged during the emergencies.

"I think what's really highlighted is that some of these communities don't have a police station," she said.

"I think where there was a police station then there's a natural centre of authority.

"What we found is just leaders rising to the fore, people who have made some good decisions and pulled their communities through and it is thanks to local heroes that we're not here talking about lost life."

She says she has listened to feedback from the community after the incident.

"We just need to make sure that we're aware of it, if buildings are being approved in those areas and that we have some procedures in place for those communities so that they can help themselves," she said.

"A few things that they've talked about are radios and lists of phone numbers and high-vis vests and a few bits and pieces in a box in the hall that just would have been useful."


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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