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SES flood crews return from 'ground zero'

Wednesday February 6, 2013 - 14:32 EDT

A group of 16 north Queensland State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers have returned from the flood-ravaged Burnett region.

Deputy local controller Barry Jenkins says the volunteers, from Mackay, Sarina, Midge Point and Calen, spent three days with the clean-up and recovery effort in Maryborough and Bundaberg.

He says the level of destruction, particularly in Bundaberg, was confronting.

"I would say that it was ground zero in Bundaberg," he said.

"Driving through the streets it was like a Third World country and in Maryborough it was just like all the low-lying areas were affected there but it was much the same, it was really devastating."

Mr Jenkins says the situation in the Burnett region is dire.

"Many, many places were flooded over their roofs, so we're just not able to get to those and authorities certainly are having trouble coping I would say with the clean-up effort and trying to manage hygiene and water and all that sort of stuff," he said.

"Once you walk into a home ... there's three or four inches of mud in the home and all of their stuff that's been sitting around for a while starts to stink really, really badly.

"So that's really what we were doing was getting people's stuff out in the front yard so that we can clean out the homes, so at the very least they can get the smell [out] and start rebuilding their lives."

It is expected further contingents of volunteers from the Mackay region will head to the Wide Bay to help with the flood clean-up.


© ABC 2013

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