Brisbane & Lockyer Valley Flood Clean-up
A team of 11 members from Woodgate SES joined a task force of 19 drawn from Childers and the Burnett Region to assist with the flood cleanup in Brisbane and the Forensic search in the Grantham area of the Lockyer valley.
The Brisbane clean up was well under way by the time we arrived with a large number of Army personnel and civilian volunteers as well as the SES working. We were deployed to assist in the cleaning up in the suburbs of Chelmer, Graceville, Darra and St Lucia . The work involved tasks such as: removing damaged plaster board in houses, cleaning mud from streets, loading the mountains of household effects discarded onto the footpaths on to trucks and using a high powered gurney to clean mud from streets and a block of units.
After two days in Brisbane volunteers were requested to travel to the Locker Valley to assist in the forensic search efforts. 11 members of the task force were deployed to this task. The search was basically divided into two groups: one searching the river banks and surrounding paddocks and the other clearing the mud and debris from the houses.
The scene that revealed itself to the members when they arrived at Grantham was one of total devastation with cars piled in tangle heaps, houses destroyed and trees and vegetation swept away by the raging torrent of the creek that had cut a great swathe of destruction through the whole of the Lockyer Valley. The teams worked in hot and exhausting conditions. The searchers on the river bank were confronted by deep mud, water and tall grasses as well as 40 degree temperatures. Those working in the houses also had an arduous task shoveling deep mud, removing household effects whilst attempting to offer sympathetic support to the home owners who were present for each home cleaned.
The whole experience was extremely difficult and members were not only physically but also emotionally taxed by the impact of it all. It was certainly the most challenging activity that Woodgate SES has ever participated in.