Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Flood Takes Its Toll

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Flood Takes Its Toll

Article excerpt

A FOOD crisis is emerging amid Queensland's unprecedented flood disaster, with vast swathes of the state awash.

Authorities are planning mass food drops to isolated communities across central and southern regions as the crisis rolls on.

Premier Anna Bligh, who's been touring flooded communities, foreshadowed a multi-billion dollar damage bill and said the state was facing its "toughest hour".

Yesterday, the situation in the inland community of Emerald was of most concern.

The worst-case scenario suggested 80% of the town and 8000 residents could be affected by floodwaters.

About 2500 residents are planning to evacuate, with road and rail access to the town now cut, Emergency Management Queensland said.

Further south, Condamine has become the second entire town to be evacuated.

All of its 100-strong population is being flown to nearby Dalby, amid expectations a 15-metre flood peak will swamp the whole township.

Theodore, to Condamine's north, is already empty with its 300 residents evacuated to Moura.

A peak of 7.9 metres has hit Bundaberg, with floodwaters splitting the city in two, inundating 120 properties, forcing almost 400 evacuations.

At Rockhampton, there are fears more than 4000 properties could be affected by what's threatening to be the worst flood in the city's history.

State Recovery Co-ordinator Bruce Grady said that with so many roads cut and so many people forced into evacuation centres, food supply was of "growing concern".

"Some of those bigger centres, which will require significant volumes of food and groceries ... may well have become a significant problem," Mr Grady said.

He said authorities were working with retailers to open supply chains and get food and other essentials to needy communities.

"We may have to look at creative ways to do that.

"We have to look at moving produce by seaplane. …

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