Elderly at risk as floodwaters rise

A nursing home in the floodwater ravaged town of St George, Queensland has been evacuated.

Rising floodwaters in the Queensland town of St George has caused the emergency evacuation of 28 residents from a local nursing home.

Emergency services and health care staff were on hand yesterday morning as 24 of the facility’s residents were flown to safety in Brisbane, while four residents chose to stay with relatives in St George.

The relocated residents will remain at their temporary home at a Churches of Christ facility until the green light has been given for the evacuees to return.  

The evacuation formed part of the town’s flood preparation plans, with the 12 metre high Balonne River expected to peak at more than 14 metres early next week.

Emergency Management Queensland’s (EMQ) assessment teams have also entered the evacuated towns of Theodore and Condamine to assess what is required to get critical infrastructure up and running.

Serious health concerns remain in these communities with septic systems overflowing, debris, mud and snakes all posing dangers.

Spokesperson for EMQ, Warren Bridson, warned that despite the recent spate of flooding disasters, the worst is not yet over.

“We are very much aware that today is in some way, the beginning of the wet season,” Mr Bridson said yesterday.

“We are onto the wet season, of course, but we have, we think, many months of a very severe wet season ahead of us.”

Aged and community care provider, PresCare, reported that destructive floodwaters came within one block of its Alexandra Gardens facility in north Rockhampton but luckily, residents did not have to be relocated.

PresCare CEO, Greg Skelton, said that four community clients were affected by the floods, however contingency plans were put in place to ensure that they were safe and well.

“A number of PresCare staff were affected but their commitment has been amazing with some even wading through water and changing at work,” Mr Skelton said.

“…One [nurse] at Alexandra Gardens rowed a tinny to safe ground to get to work today.”

Mr Skelton said that despite the danger, the facility’s staff and residents remain positive.

“PresCare operates a robust disaster recovery management plan which was put into action well in advance of the floodwaters hitting the region.

“This meant consultation with residents, clients, staff and families and stockpiling extra supplies, medications, food and water.

“I’m pleased to say the atmosphere throughout the situation has been positively upbeat.

“I’d also like to thank our dedicated staff, who despite the adverse conditions at home, have found alternate accommodation and ways to get to work to ensure that care is not interrupted to residents.

“Our clients’ families have also been incredibly supportive, some even offering to open their homes up to affected staff.”
The organisation has also ffered special flood leave considerations and monetary support, such as small loans, to affected staff to enable them to cope with the situation. 
EMQ has advised people in areas with rising flood waters to diligently listen to their local radio station for severe storm advice and warnings. Should a flood warning be issued, people should move to locations on higher ground.

If an evacuation is necessary, it is recommended that residents pack warm clothing, essential medications, valuables, personal papers, mobile phone, photos and mementos in waterproof bags to be taken with a pre-prepared emergency kit.

Queensland Police has also reminded motorists not to attempt to cross flooded roads or causeways.
“Do not risk your life, the lives of those in your vehicle and the lives of rescuers. Nothing is so important that you need to enter floodwaters,” Queensland Police said.

For up-to-date information concerning the flooding situation contact:

Bureau of Meteorology for weather information, including up-coming forecasts

The Traffic and Travel information line on 13 19 40

• RACQ road closure site on 1300 130 595

• For more information about flood and cyclone preparation and emergency kits can be found at www.disaster.qld.gov.au

People experiencing personal hardship due to the flooding can call 1800 173 349, or visit the Department of Communities website for updates on the types and availability of support.

For all donations to the Premier’s Flood Relief appeal, call 1800 219 028.

For practical health advice during and after floods visit the Queensland Health website.

Tags: aged-care, community-care, emq, floods, nursing-home, queensland-police, st-george,

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