PREMIER Anna Bligh has spoken about the the state's worst floods in 50 years as town and communities continue to monitor the rising waters.
In an interview on ABC radio, Ms Bligh discussed the magnitude of the flooding, evacuations, emergency services, health and disease and the cost of the disaster.
The full interview is below.
ANNA BLIGH: We're working with the Retailers Association and major grocery stores to make sure that they have as many supplies as they can store. We're also ensuring that we've got medical supplies available because what we do know is that if we see the rivers peak at their current forecast in places like Rockhampton they will stay there for somewhere between eight to 10 days. And their airport could be cut off for that amount of time. We will be able to get emergency helicopters in so people don't need to panic. We will be able to ensure that there is the food and medical supplies they need. But it will be quite a large logistical exercise with more than 500 homes potentially affected and people in those homes out of them staying with fr iends or in the emergency centres.
DAVID MARK: Indeed we're hearing stories that thousands of people may have to leave their homes in Emerald and of course other cities. If they have to stay away for a week or so what long-term plans do you have for those people?
ANNA BLIGH: In all of the places we're now anticipating floodwaters to rise in the next couple of days we have established emergency evacuation centres. These centres are all staffed 24 hours a day with volunteers and three meals a day will be provided. And we have bedding to accommodate literally thousands of people. What we are asking and most people would prefer is where possible for them to find their way to family and friends on higher ground in town.
DAVID MARK: How concerned are you about the spread of disease either through contaminated water or mosquito-borne diseases?
ANNA BLIGH: As we move into the next phase of coping with this disaster issues like an adequate supply of fresh drinking water and the management of public health issues is going to be one of our highest priorities. We have all of these towns where people are well-equipped to deal with some of these issues. But that doesn't mean that it's easy for them and it doesn't mean that there's not a lot of pain and heartbreak happening.
DAVID MARK: You've been touring the flooded areas. Have you ever seen anything like this in Queensland?
ANNA BLIGH: What is unprecedented about what's happening up here at the moment is just the scale and the number of communities affected. I've certainly seen flooded towns before in Queensland. We have big storms and we have big river systems. But I've never seen Queensland - and I think it's without precedent in our recorded history - with so many places in so many diverse parts of the state each affected so critically all at once.
DAVID MARK: How long will the crisis last and how much will it cost?
ANNA BLIGH: There is weeks left in managing this crisis. There are many towns which when the waters peak in the next two to three days we'll see those waters remain at that level for anywhere up to eight to 10 days. I expect that we'll still be managing some of this right until the end of January. This is a disaster that is going to run into the billions of dollars.
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