Flood challenge for Queensland

Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald has challenged Queensland service providers, just two years after the last damaging floods.

Above: Blue Care’s Millbank aged care facility in flood-affected Bundaberg, Qld

Just two years after the devastating floods of January 2011, Queenslanders are once again deluged, this time in the wake of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. 

Over the Australia Day long weekend, Queensland’s largest not-for-profit aged service provider, Blue Care has had to take a range of measures to ensure the safety of both people and property at several of its centres and services in affected parts of the state.

Blue Care Executive Director Robyn Batten said residents were safe, though the wild weather had affected landline and mobile communications to the majority of Blue Care’s services across Queensland and northern New South Wales.

She said services worked with local area emergency response teams to ensure there was enough food, fuel, medical and power supplies at each site, with  maintenance teams quick to respond to roof leaks and other immediate repairs needed.

Yesterday the focus remained on two of its residential aged care facilities in Bundaberg ahead of the Burnett River’s peak, which was expected to reach 9.6 metres, surpassing the record level reached in 1942 of 8.59 metres.

Ms Batten said the plan for residents and staff of Blue Care’s Millbank and Riverlea aged care facilities in Bundaberg was to continue to ‘shelter in place’.

“Our staff are well trained for these events and our emergency response plans are ready,” she said.

“On the weekend all residents from our lower lying rooms at both facilities moved to higher ground within the sites as the facilities are the best place for us to continue providing quality care.

“Even with the worst-case scenario of the river’s peak at 9.5 metres we don’t envisage needing to evacuate, and have contingency plans in place and buildings nearby to move into, just in case.

“Staff, residents and their families have shown great resilience and the teamwork during this natural disaster has been admirable.”

Above: Blue Care’s Millbank aged care facility in flood-affected Bundaberg, Qld

Ms Batten said Blue Care’s community clients were being monitored by local emergency teams, who liaise with Blue Care to identify clients with higher care needs and provide information as required.

Elsewhere in the state, she said, residents remain safe and Blue Care Property Services has been working overtime to fix critical damage to buildings across Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Blue Care’s Kingscliff and Tweed Heads (Amaroo) residential aged care facilities had their stand-by evacuation orders lifted by the State Emergency Service overnight on Monday.

“Over the long weekend our phone and data network was down at 59 of our sites and as of this morning we’re pleased to advise the network has been restored to 50 of those sites,” she said.

Blue Care will continue to post updates via www.facebook.com/BlueCareAustralia.

Tags: amaroo, blue-care, cyclone-oswald, emergency-response, floods, millbank, riverlea, robyn-batten,

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