Queenslanders told to stay at home or evacuate as flood waters rise

By Melissa Coade

February 28, 2022

Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks to the media at the Kedron Emergency Services complex in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Jason O’Brien)

Southeast Queensland residents have been issued a warning as severe thunderstorms hit the region, with the premier cautioning the risk of the heavy rainfall and flash floods should be taken very seriously.

Amid unrelenting rain in the state, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of very dangerous thunderstorms near Brisbane CBD and Strathpine. 

Kippa-Ring recorded 117mm of rain in one hour to 11am on Sunday, and Woody Point recorded 71mm in the same period.

Authorities are concerned that slow-moving storms are likely to bring intense rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding.

In a statement, premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called for Queenslanders to heed the warnings about the extraordinary weather event.

“I urge everyone to stay home if safe to do so, and call for help if you need it,” she said. 

People have been advised to not drive, walk or ride through flood waters, and to seek shelter indoors. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have also told people to avoid sheltering under trees. 

Emergency Services are also advising people to be aware of the hazards of fallen trees and powerlines, and avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.

Addressing press in Queensland on Sunday, prime minister Scott Morrison said the extreme weather was pushing further south into New South Wales. He called for people to stay at home if they had not been ordered to evacuate, and issued a plea to them to not go outside and ‘sightsee’ the moving waters.

“If it’s flooded, forget it. This is a constant message that is given by governments all around the country during these flood events — not just for your own safety, but for the safety of those who will have to go in and assist if you get yourself into trouble,” Morrison said.

One SES volunteer died on Friday when their response vehicle was swept off the road as they tried to respond to a call for assistance in Coolana. It brings the death toll of the recent floods in Queensland to four.

“Emergency Management Australia, together with the defence forces, [are] working closely together to ensure the best of the work that comes from the Bureau of Meteorology and others is fed into the command centre here, and the best possible responses can be put in place,” the PM added.

Queensland Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said the state government was bracing for worse weather still to come. 

“With the rain still tumbling down and catchments and rivers still rising, it will be some time until we have a clear understanding of the true impacts of the floods, but in these early stages we’re committed to providing support to councils as quickly as we can and will continue to extend as additional information comes to hand,” Ryan said.

“For now, our strong message to South-East Queenslanders is to keep your safety front of mind — stay home if safe to do so, and call for help if you need it.”

From Monday, individuals who are impacted by the extreme weather in Queensland may be eligible for a one-off federal disaster recovery payment of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child. The MyGov payment will not be means tested and is available to people who have experienced a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home or serious injury.

The federal government has extended disaster assistance to councils in the Brisbane, Moreton Bay, Redland, Scenic Rim, Somerset, South Burnett and Southern Downs local government areas.

Senator Bridget McKenzie, minister for emergency management and national recovery and resilience, said a total of 17 councils were now eligible for the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) assistance.

“Affected councils can have comfort in knowing they will be supported to provide their communities with the counter disaster operations required, as well as to restore vital public infrastructure like roads and bridges,” the Senator said.

More information on disaster assistance can be found on the Queensland Reconstruction Authority website at www.qra.qld.gov.au


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