Flood-ravaged areas in Logan, south of Brisbane, are cleaning up after the region’s river peaked at levels not seen since 1974.
Thousands were forced to flee low-lying parts of Logan, Beaudesert and the northern Gold Coast on Friday after hundreds of millimetres of rain, brought on by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, caused unprecedented river rises and flooding.
The Logan River peaked at 10.4 metres overnight and levels are slowly falling.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) records show the flood of January 1974 was the most severe in recent memory at more than 13 metres.
BOM senior forecaster Michael Knepp said the Albert and Logan rivers had peaked and were now falling.
“It has peaked at Waterford and it is starting to go back, so it is falling slowly,” he said.
Logan Mayor Luke Smith said floodwaters could still affect properties in the Carbrook and Cornubia areas.
“It’s still up high and it’s making its way down to the mouth of the river, so we’re still working with people down to the Loganholme end of the Logan border to let people know that there is water coming their way,” he said.
Councillor Smith appealed for sightseers to stay away from flooded rivers, saying it was still a dangerous situation.
“We had so many kids and very small children who were just literally centimetres away from falling in to fast-flowing waters yesterday, so we had to get our park rangers and our police to work together to move a lot of people out of those dangerous areas,” he said.
“Please don’t go down, it’s not a place to play.”
‘Queensland mud army’ needs to help
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for people to offer their help.
“I am sure you will see Queenslanders out in force — it will be the Queensland mud army this time because we have seen, and we are going to see even more, impacts across our state,” she said.
“Men and women of Queensland, get ready to come and give a hand because I will be calling on you to help out.”
Community Services Minister Shannon Fentiman said although her own home had been inundated in the southern Brisbane region, she remained focused on the community’s recovery.
“Like many residents in my community, my home and property has been inundated but, look, I’m OK and safe, my animals are OK and safe — the damage isn’t as bad as it could be,” she said.
“My focus is my community — there are so many residents that need a helping hand and, as I said before, we know the spirit of this community is so strong and I know so many people will want to put up their hand and help their friends and neighbours over the coming days.”
She said the State Government had acted very quickly to activate National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) funding for financial hardship.
“That’s why we have a community hub operating almost straight away at the Beenleigh library,” Ms Fentiman said.
“I would encourage anyone who needs any assistance to make their way down to Beenleigh and ask for that help.”
Extent of damage in Logan not known
Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the extent of damage in the Logan and Scenic Rim areas in the south-east would not be known until waters recede.
“There is still a flood situation going on, in the Logan area particularly, so sightseers keep away and I’d ask residents to consider the need to travel today,” he said.
“This is a critical stage where people think that the event is over — it’s far from over.”
Councillor Smith said the council was focusing on the clean-up plan.
“We are starting to get the impact of the damage that river caused from Mundoolun through to Beenleigh, so we are now in a process of working on our clean-up plan and what that will mean over the next 48 hours,” he said.
“It’s more of an impact right across our city than we’ve ever seen.”
Councillor Smith said it was not yet known how many homes would be affected in the Logan area.
“We estimate 38 homes in the Albert River catchment that have been inundated — we are still yet to be able to get to 10 of those homes in that area,” he said.
“We are estimating still around 250 homes in the Logan River catchment area that will be inundated by water and some of those are yet to take place.”
He said last time it took $1.5 million just to clean up football fields.
“That was just to spray for disinfection around that area — the sky is the limit at this stage is what that means,” he said.
Power cut to homes as precaution
Energex cut power to a number of homes affected by floodwaters along the Albert and Logan rivers due to safety concerns.
Energex spokesman Danny Donald said about 600 homes were affected.
“You just simply can’t reconnect them back to the network or re-energise them, because you’re facing anything from electrocution because the wiring inside has got wet, to house fires,” he said.
He said about 4,500 customers were still without power in Logan City and 1,200 homes around the Gold Coast Hinterland where access was still a problem.