Damage in Logan 'considerable' after floodwaters peak

2nd April 2017 11:27 AM
Floodwaters creeping up to the M1 in Logan. Floodwaters creeping up to the M1 in Logan. Logan City Council

AT LEAST 30 families have been left homeless and more than 500 homes were inundated by flood waters in Logan following ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which has left five people dead since it made landfall last Tuesday.

Authorities described the damage to the Logan region as "considerable". It could be days before power is reconnected to some properties.

It comes as thousands of residents in Rockhampton are being urged to evacuate as the town braces for its worst flood in almost a century.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Katrina Carroll said the SES had inspected more than 500 homes that had been inundated in the areas affected by the swollen Albert and Logan rivers in the southeast, with at least 30 of those now uninhabitable. That number is expected to rise.

"We did a flyover of that area yesterday and the damage has been considerable to some properties," she said.

"We do expect this number to increase considerably, to maybe 200 to 300 or more."

The Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the Logan River peaked at Waterford last night and that it remains at major flood levels in Eagleby today.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart has again implored residents to stay home and not get in the way of emergency service workers.

"This is a critical phase where people think it's over but it is not over, especially in that Logan and Albert River areas," he said.

"This is not over yet, and we just want to keep all Queenslanders safe."

Nelson Raebel went missing in Eagleby on Friday. His body was found the next day.
Nelson Raebel went missing in Eagleby on Friday. His body was found the next day. News Corp Australia

The death toll of Cyclone Debbie since it made landfall is five, although Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said a German tourist who died in a car crash in north Queensland related to the weather just before Cyclone Debbie hit would also be included, making six.

Nelson Raebel, 77, became Queensland's first flood-related casualty after police found his body a day after he had gone missing near Eagleby Rd, south of Brisbane.

A 45-year-old man was found dead at a caravan park, on Tweed Valley Way, South Murwillumbah at 1.30pm yesterday.

Matthew Roser, 46, died during the floods at Murwillumbah.
Matthew Roser, 46, died during the floods at Murwillumbah.

"The water busted the door open and dad started to have a panic attack. He fell down and it sounded like he was snoring, but he stopped breathing," his son Justin said.

The deaths come after two women were found dead in northern NSW on Friday, including 64-year-old Jan Baihn whose Land Cruiser became stuck in flood waters while her and husband Bob were driving through a causeway that leads to their Hunter Valley home.

There are also three men still missing in areas hit by flooding. John Frost, 58, went missing last Tuesday from Mount Pleasant near Mackay. David Heidemann, 50, has not been seen since leaving a Mondure address, north of Kingaroy, Thursday night. He said he was going to meet a friend on Campbells Rd, which was subjected to flooding. He failed to meet the friend or return.

The third man has been missing in Lamington National Park since last week, before the flooding, with the severe weather hampering the search for him.

The toll could rise with more than 500 homes inundated with water yesterday when the Albert and Logan rivers hit levels higher than the 1974 floods.

The Logan River swallowed sagging powerlines and more than 5000 homes remained without power last night. Throughout Queensland, more than 39,000 homes in north Queensland and around 8,000 homes in the southeast were yet to be reconnected by 8am Sunday, and it may be days before they are.

Residents at William St, Waterford, nervously watch the Logan River rise today.
Residents at William St, Waterford, nervously watch the Logan River rise today.

Mayor Luke Smith said Logan City was now in a state of natural disaster and the impact was not yet fully known.

"The city of Logan is struggling to understand the extent of what the damage will be over the next 24 hours as the Logan River recedes," he said.

Logan Hospital was accessible only by the motorway after flood waters cut off the main entrance.

Nervous residents living on the bank of the Logan River continued to sandbag their homes into the afternoon.

Kudzai Mudimu raced to protect his in-laws home as water lapped at their back step.

His young neighbours next door could only watch as the river swallowed their volleyball court and threatened to inundate their home.

Across the bridge John Power and his family could no longer leave through their front gate.

"We've been here 19 years, and this is the worst I've ever seen," he said. "

All the neighbours are worried about us because we're the lowest house."

To the ire of authorities, some locals ignored warnings and waded into the impromptu lakes. Jet skis, canoes and inflatable pool toys were used by locals along flooded roads and a dangerously raging river filled with raw sewage.

The mega clean-up in Logan City will commence once the waters finally recede, although that could take days.

Cr Smith praised the community for their eagerness to help, advising residents to apply with Volunteers Queensland.

"The most important message I can give is look out for your neighbour, support each other and be aware that there are people around who are lonely and people who are on their own," Mr Smith said.