Words and pictures do not do any justice to the Southern Queensland floods. Videos, many shot by amateurs on camera phones, are filtering through and they show only a small snippet of the devastating effect of the floods so far.
The supercharged rivers are flowing with cluttered debris it has collected in its devastating path, vehicles tumbling in the torrential waves, smashing into other vehicles in their path. Nothing is safe. Houses are being ripped from their foundations and swept down swollen rivers. People are clinging to trees, to signs – to anything they pray will help them from being swept away in the raging waters.
Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, has announced in today’s press conference the death toll has risen to 12 with missing people being revised down to 43 and many families not knowing where their children are. Bob Atkinson, Queensland Police Commissioner said there were still grave concerns for nine people.
Deputy Police Commissioner, Ian Stewart said today recovery teams were searching buildings “completely destroyed” by floodwaters, combing trees, creeks and cars for bodies. “Our hope is that we actually might find some survivors but the chances of that are quite remote,” he said.
Brisbane residents are comparing this flood to the catastrophic floods of 1974 where businesses and houses went under and sixteen people lost their lives.
A distraught Grantham local relives the terrifying moment to Seven Network when he tried to rescue bodies from turbulent floodwaters. He thought they were trying to swim, until he realized they were deceased and it was the turbulent waters throwing them around.
Martin Warburton told the Seven Network, “You saw arms, hands, grey hair, and that was it, by the time you knelt down you realize they’re not swimming, they are already gone.”
The Bureau of Meteorology have revised down their prediction of the surging Brisbane River to water levels now expected to peak at 5.2 meters in the early hours of Thursday morning (AEDT). This revised prediction is just below the level of the catastrophic 1974 floods where suburbs went completely under.
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor, Campbell Newman, said new flood modeling has indicated about 19,700 residential properties and 3,500 commercial premises in 2,100 are likely to be flooded in Brisbane. The 6,500 homes on the first flood warning issued Wednesday are likely to be severely affected.
Tuesday night Sky News reported no one will be spared by the impact of the Queensland floods. Insurance companies are bracing for AUS $10 billion while the resources sector are bracing for the impact as 60% of Queensland’s coal mines are flooded with another 20% are at risk.
“It might be breaking our hearts at the moment but it will not break our will,” Premier Bligh said in Wednesday’s press release.