Questions over flood warnings

FLEUR Anderson lost the entire cotton crop on her 1000 acre farm near Theodore during the devastating flooding that struck Central Queensland last summer.

On Monday she is expected to tell the Queensland Flood Inquiry sitting in Rockhampton that cotton growers in the Dawson Valley got no warning of the natural disaster that wiped out their livelihoods.

In her witness statement to the commission she said there was no digital monitoring of the creeks and when the levee bank bordering her property broke on Christmas Day, water swept across the entire farm.

Another Theodore farmer, cattle producer Burnett Joyce, said in his written evidence that if it hadn't been for word of mouth, there would have been no notice of the flooding which inundated his 23,000 acre Gyranda Station.

“We did not receive any warning from any agency that any of the district was under threat,” he said.

“We have access to the measuring stations operated by Sun Water, but I became aware that the readings being supplied were not accurate.”

Mr Joyce is critical of the response of some residents in Theodore, which was eventually evacuated.

A total of 365 people were flown out by chopper and taken to Moura and Rockhampton. Most left voluntarily, but seven had to be coerced.

“Theodore received about two weeks notice of the impending flooding, yet many residents did not do anything to help themselves prepare,” Mr Joyce said.

“This led to damage to property that could have been avoided. This lethargic approach I think is due to the overload of information that the community receives.

“I did hear that during the flood a family at Taroom was stuck on the roof of their home after the property was inundated. A local pilot was stopped from flying out to rescue them with his helicopter because he was not licensed to do so.

“I think there needs to be some common sense in emergency situations for the well-being of people involved.”

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