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North Queensland flood: More than 200 homes inundated as Ingham flood peaks

Saturday March 10, 2018 - 07:27 EDT
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Getting around flooded Ingham on a tinnie - ABC

More than 200 homes have been inundated with floodwaters near the north Queensland town of Ingham as rivers in the area reach their flood peak.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Katarina Carroll said her crews were involved in 7 rescues across the far north and about 10 in the north regions, around Ingham and Halifax.

"Four of those were probably due to silly behaviour, but some of those are genuine people where their houses have started to be inundated and we've just removed them from their houses to a place of safety," she said.

"We have an indication that 45 houses have been inundated in north of Ingham, some 130 south of Ingham and some 40 in Halifax.

"We've had 108 SES jobs in the last 24 hours and a lot of that is obviously to do with tarping and sandbagging, and we've dealt with 60 per cent of those."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said authorities expect more homes to be inundated in the Ingham region.

"We have had the mayor on the phone to explain to us they are happy with the level of cooperation," she said.

The town remains isolated, with the Bruce Highway closed at Mutarnee, south of Ingham, and to the north at Tully.

The Herbert River peaked at 14.7 metres on Friday evening, a level similar to the town's 2009 flood.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said that level is expected to drop slowly overnight but remain at a major flood level of 12 metres into Saturday.

"We certainly expect for a lot of these rivers in that area for levels to remain high as we go through the next few days," BOM forecaster Victoria Dodds said.

The Herbert River catchment has received 300-600mm over the past three days.

The system that caused the flooding is easing and heading north.

Army delivers to stranded students

Food and medical supplies have been airlifted to a group .

The delivery operation had been hampered by the wet conditions, but a helicopter was able to drop off the supplies during a break in the weather this afternoon.

Police said a student and parent accompanying their child were evacuated for pre-existing health reasons.

State Disaster Coordinator Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee said the staff and students had been "fantastic" during the crisis.

"Local police and teachers on the ground have done an outstanding job so far ensuring the safety and the spirits of all the children are maintained," he said.

"I particularly want to reassure parents the children are safe and they have necessary supplies — as a parent I feel for them but they're in good spirits."

Nyssa Christensen was able to speak to her son briefly and said he was "not coping".

"He just wants to come home," she said.

Ms Christensen said she did not blame the school for allowing the camp to go ahead.

"I'm not going to fault anyone it's mother nature she can be a cow … they're doing their best," she said.

She said she was satisfied all of the children were safe but it was a hard situation to deal with.

"It's been an emotional rollercoaster ride to be honest it's not something that I want any parent to go through," she said.

Other areas affected

Ms Palaszczuk said it was not just north Queensland experiencing flooding.

"Out west we have some areas that are isolated as well with Julia Creek, Richmond and Doomadgee, so we want to keep an eye on that," he said.

"We also have some weather worsening up in the Gulf from next weekend onwards and the bureau is keeping an eye on the Coral Sea as well for later next week and will be updating people about that.

"In effect about a third of our council areas across the state have been impacted."


© ABC 2018

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