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Yelarbon residents prepare for evacuation as flood threat rises

Wednesday December 1, 2021 - 03:15 AEDT
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Yelarbon resident Mark Hyde says locals are taking the situation in their stride. - ABC

Despite the looming threat of flooding in the southern Queensland town of Yelarbon, locals are staying calm as they pack up their belongings.

An evacuation order has been issued, with floodwaters from Inglewood expected to hit the district late on Wednesday night.

"The situation at the moment is very calm ? there's no traffic on the roads, a little bit of water lying around the area," said Mark Hyde, the manager of Yelarbon's Oasis Hotel.

"At the hotel, we're putting all the precious goods like the alcohol up high so we've got alcohol for the recovery.

"It's not raining at all at the moment, just really humid and dark clouds everywhere."

Mr Hyde said some residents wanted to stay, despite the evacuation order.

"The feeling around the town is, 'Why should we go? We can't see anything,'" he said.

"But like the emergency services say, the flood doesn't let you know when it's coming ? it just comes, then once you get stuck you can't get out.

"So the idea is get out before the danger happens."

Evacuation order

Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg urged people to heed the order and take advantage of the daylight hours to get their things in order.

"When you're evacuating people in the dark, you've got to line people up ? you can't see what's happening," he said.

"You [have] floodwaters coming in behind you ? It's not a good situation."

Getting prepared is a community effort, with buses being organised to get people out of town and navigate the cut-off roads.

"The police will arrange to escort that and we will also be doing the necessary repairs to the road where we've got a problem at the moment," Cr Springborg said.

Locals do not know what they will find when they return after the threat has passed.

"If we get inundation ? it will overwhelm our sewage treatment works, because it finds it very difficult for it to cope in those circumstances," Cr Springborg said.

Crops 'pretty well buggered'

Farmer Rick McDougall's is expecting to lose thousands of dollars' worth of crops.

"There is about 500 acres of cereal here that will be pretty well buggered now," he said.

"A lot of fences gone and a shed full of hay ? over 200 tonnes ? will be buggered.

"I've been here all my life, but I underestimated it too."


© ABC 2021

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