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Plea to steer clear of floodwaters

A man packs his belongings into the back of a ute during the floods in Rockhampton.
A man packs his belongings into the back of a ute during the floods in Rockhampton.

QUEENSLANDERS are once again being urged to steer clear of flooded roads, creeks and waterways, with fears a man who was swept off a causeway at Aramac is dead.

Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts has said: "with nine people confirmed drowned in floodwaters already and grave fears held for a tenth, I'm pleading with residents in flood affected areas to be extremely careful.

He also said 24 people had died in flood waters in the past two years.

"I ask residents to not risk their own lives, those of their family and potentially the lives of their rescuers by attempting to cross floodwaters.

"Staying clear of flooded creeks, rivers and causeways could mean the difference between life and death.

"It only takes 15 centimetres of water to knock a person off their feet and around 60 centimetres of quick moving water is enough to sweep a heavy 4WD off a flooded road."

Swift Water rescue teams have been deployed to Rockhampton (two teams), Emerald (two teams), Dalby, Roma, Surat and Bundaberg.

Choppers, barges battle the floods

TWO Navy Sea King helicopters will be flown into Roma and barges are ferrying food to Rockhampton to help Queenslanders battered by floodwater.

The Australian Defence Force will dispatch the helicopters to assist with flood relief in affected areas. They are currently on standby, Chief Superintendent Alistair Dawson told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"This provides greater capacity in that area," Mr Dawson said.

Record floods are expected at Surat and St George, both on the Balonne River, with a peak expected at St George of 14 metres on Monday or Tuesday.

The resupply of food in Rockhampton and Jericho, both in Central Queensland, is a critical issue for authorities.

The National Retail Association began shipping food on two 24-foot barges from Gladstone to Rosslyn Bay near Yeppoon on Tuesday.

The association is looking into hiring two larger barges to help with the operation.

In Jericho, roads are open but have been significantly damaged and the local grocery store has run out of essential items.

A freight truck will resupply the town on Wednesday, Mr Dawson said.

"The resupply is something we are paying close attention to," he said.

Fatigue management is also a rising issue.

Thirty SES workers from Victoria will fly into Queensland on Wednesday night and will be on the ground in Theodore on Thursday, EMQ acting assistant director-general Warren Bridson told reporters in Brisbane.

"Their jobs will be helping people to return to their homes by cleaning ... and taking out things that are destroyed," Mr Bridson said.

Floods wash $1 billion away from coal industry

Flooding across central Queensland has cost the state's coal industry an estimated $1 billion in production, a mining peak body says.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive officer Michael Roche told reporters in Brisbane on Tuesday that disruptions could continue for months.

Mine workers in many Queensland cities and towns such as Emerald are busy hosing out their homes while fly-in fly-out workers can't get on to mine sites because of limited road access.

The QRC said many mine sites had localised flooding but a clear picture of their situation had yet to emerge.

Mr Roche said the longer the mines were water logged the greater the chance of salinity problems.

More rain forecast for flooded Qld

As parts of southeast and southwest Queensland either brace for flooding or begin the clean-up after already going through the ordeal, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting the worst possible news - more heavy rain.

The bureau says by Thursday an area south of Bundaberg and east of Roma could be facing rainfall of between 50mm and 100mm, with pockets over 100mm in some areas.

Senior forecaster Bryan Rolleston said Bundaberg may be hit again, the Sunshine Coast could be seriously affected and the Darling Downs, "which could be a problem for the Condamine region".

That region covers the towns of Dalby and Condamine and the system also flows into the Balonne River, where towns are bracing for near record floods.

The weather bureau has upgraded its flood peak prediction for St George to higher than 14 metres, which is expected to swamp the town next Monday or Tuesday.

Last March's flood peaked at 13.39 metres.

The Balonne River on Tuesday morning was at 12 metres.

Further up the Balonne, Surat is also preparing for a record flood peak.

Mr Rolleston said Warwick could also be in trouble again, and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, along with Brisbane, were facing another drenching.

He said it was too early to pinpoint the exact areas which could be affected.

"The trouble is we are looking at the modelling and it changes its bulls-eyes from day to day.

"All I can tell you is it's a big area from about south of Bundaberg and east of Roma and within that there'll be some smaller zones of over 100mm."

Mr Rolleston said some areas could expect falls similar to what was experienced over the Christmas weekend.

US pledges assistance in flood crisis

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed condolences for the loss of life in floods in Australia and says Washington is prepared to provide assistance to its close ally.

Up to 200,000 people are estimated to have been hit by the fast-flowing waters that have inundated 22 rural towns in the country's northeast, across an area the size of NSW.

"On behalf of President (Barack) Obama and the people of the United States, I offer my condolences for the loss of life and damage in Queensland caused by the recent flooding," Clinton said in a statement.

"Our embassy in Canberra is monitoring the situation and has been in contact with Australian authorities.

"Australia is an important partner and close friend of the United States and we stand ready to provide assistance," she said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these floods, especially the families of the victims, and with all the people of Australia."

Premier to inspect flood clean-up

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh will fly to the flood-ravaged townships of Alpha and Jericho to inspect the recovery process.

Ms Bligh is flying to central Queensland on Tuesday morning and will be briefed by Barcaldine Mayor Rob Chandler on arrival.

Mr Chandler told AAP the towns are in mop-up mode after floodwaters inundated properties last Tuesday.

"It's a big clean-up exercise at the moment," he said.

"It's going as best as can be expected."

At the peak, half of the Alpha and Jericho populations were evacuated to higher ground, he said.

Mr Chandler said he planned to show the premier the water heights and discuss future flood-mitigation measures such as building levee banks, better roads and improving evacuation centre resources.


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