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Fifth death, mass evacuation in Queensland's floods

  Three people, including a State Emergency Service volunteer, have died after being swept away in flood waters in Queensland overnight, as ...

 


Three people, including a State Emergency Service volunteer, have died after being swept away in flood waters in Queensland overnight, as some parts of the state experience worse flooding than 2011.

It brought the death toll from the floods to five, and at least one person remained missing.

Authorities issued an evacuation alert for part of Gympie, north of Brisbane, on Saturday afternoon, with flood levels expected to pass levels recorded in 1999. The city already passed levels recorded in the 2011 and 2013 floods.

The Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said police and the SES were assisting the evacuation, which affected 700 people.



The state disaster coordinator, Steve Gollschewski, said the evacuation order was given in order to get people to safety during daylight hours.

“We have got contingency planning in place on the ground up there so that we have pre-deployed there with water rescue and water police [and] we are able to operate in that area once the flooding comes through, but it is much safer for everybody if we move sooner,” he said.

There were 500 people spread across 20 evacuation centres in south-east Queensland, and Gollschewski said they had capacity to take in many more evacuees.

“If you need to go to an evacuation centre the best thing to do is to get online and see where the closest one to you is and go there where you can get support,” he said.

Flood sirens were sounded in Grantham, west of Brisbane, on Sunday afternoon, with the Lockyer Valley council telling people living in low-lying areas to “move to higher ground and relocate to family and friends as a matter of urgency”.

Residents on the Sunshine Coast, near the Logan and Albert rivers, and in Maryborough were also told to be on high alert, with waters in Maryborough expected to peak late on Sunday, above the major flood levels recorded just last month.

On Saturday afternoon police recovered the body of a man who went missing in flood waters at Goomboorian, near Gympie, overnight. The 37-year-old was located by police divers after an extensive search, the ABC reported.



The death of the SES volunteer was reported overnight. The Queensland fire and emergency services commissioner, Greg Leach, said the volunteer had died after the SES vehicle they were travelling in, as part of a crew of four, was swept off the road into flood waters near Ipswich.

“Three of our members were rescued, one of those members is deceased,” Leach said. “We pass on our condolences to family, friends and loved ones.”

Leach said it was a “very sad day” for emergency services.

The Queensland emergency services minister, Mark Ryan, said SES volunteers routinely put the lives of others before their own.

“And this person was doing that last night,” Ryan said. “They were on their way to help people in need. So of course we remember that volunteer, we grieve that volunteer’s loss, but also we pay tribute to their service and their life.”

with infirmation from theguardian.com

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