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Fears Lockyer Valley community facing weeks of isolation

By Fidelis Rego, Wednesday January 30, 2013 - 13:54 EDT

The Lockyer Valley Mayor says the council may have to airlift supplies for months to a flood-affected community in southern Queensland.

The clean-up is continuing this morning in Grantham and Laidley.

But Steve Jones says there is no access to Mount Sylvia, south-west of Gatton.

"The damage up there and the isolation of people is quite extreme," he said.

"In fact, the damage is probably a huge amount, more than 2011 and people will be isolated there for a long time, so we're looking to supply them by chopper at least for many weeks, if not months."

Many Lockyer Valley residents and business owners are hard at work cleaning up after the flood.

A number of valley communities were hit, including Laidley where about 100 homes and businesses were flooded.

Local business owner Toni Teuthof says she is dealing with a different mess than in 2011.

Mud thicker

"It's a lot more thicker and gluggier, more dirty more this time than the 2011... the 2011 [flood] throughout the shop was more water, whereas this is think mud which has obviously ruined a lot more stock than what we thought," she said.

Communities on Queensland's southern border are being warned they could be isolated for several days as record flooding continues downstream.

The Goondiwindi Regional Council says flooding in the Weir River and Wyaga Creek is at levels never seen before.

Mayor Graeme Scheu says residents in Talwood need to resupply now.

"The areas out there are going to be isolated and we need to urge people, particularly in the Talwood area, the roads are open to St George at the moment and to stock up quickly because it is going to be isolated and it looks like it will be for quite a while," he said.

Flooding in Chinchilla appears to have peaked overnight.

The weather bureau say Charleys Creek reached a major height of 6.5m overnight and has fallen slightly this morning.

Eight businesses were inundated when the creek rose on Sunday but the Western Downs Mayor, Ray Brown, says a check is being done to see if any more shops and homes have been affected.

"Obviously additional business houses have been inundated in Chinchilla overnight from yesterday," he said.

"We'll verify that, also verify what if any houses had inundations, so obviously some concern there this morning."

Business owners say they are playing a waiting game for floodwaters to recede in Chinchilla so that they can begin the clean-up.

Jim Strongman's property development firm has been impacted.

"Our company, for example, has four offices in Chinchilla, one of those has a couple of feet of water through it but because we had plenty of warning that there was a high risk of flooding we managed to empty it on Sunday," he said.

Condamine locals are settling in for a wait with floodwaters expected to isolate the town.

Condamine peak

Access to the town could be cut tonight if the Condamine River exceeds the major flood height of 10m.

The river is expected to peak later this week at 12.5m - about 3m short of the record flood that forced the evacuation of the town two years ago.

Resident Andrew Smith says locals are ready.

"I've spoken to quite a few people that have made the trip into Miles stocking up the fridge and what have you just in case that we would be isolated and it does look as though at this stage that will happen," he said.

"We are ready and we're experienced now too I think as a lot of places across Queensland are."

The Warwick Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it fears some shops may not open after being flooded for the second time.

About 20 businesses are continuing to clean up today after the Condamine River peaked at 7.45 metres on Monday night.

Chamber president David Littleproud says some businesses had only just completed repairs and reopened after the 2011 floods.

"I would like to think that they're resilient enough to do it again because all those businesses that have been affected [are] very popular local businesses, so I'd really like to think they're resilient and Id like to think with the support of the local community that they'll stand up and go through it one more time," he said.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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