Extra police to Emerald to prevent looting

EXTRA police are being sent to Emerald today to prevent looting as water levels start to fall in the flood devastated town.

Central Highlands Regional Council mayor Peter Maguire said additional police resources would arrive today and Monday as officers

continued to provide 24 hour water patrols.

"Prevention of looting remains their highest priority,’’ Cr Maguire, Chair of the Central Highlands Local Disaster Management Group, said in a media release.

The Nogoa River at Emerald peaked at 16.05 metres during Friday and at 10.23am today was 15.6 metres and falling slowly.

This level is still about 1.2 metres over the approaches to the Vince Lester Bridge which will be closed for several days before it can be repaired.

Cr Maguire said even though water on the highway north of Emerald was receding, significant damage had been caused to the culvert under the highway.

"Under no circumstances is anyone to try to cross this channel,’’ he said.

"Main Roads will assess and repair the road as soon as practicable. Traffic controls will be in place on both sides of the water course.’’

He said treated water supplies remain good in Emerald and Blackwater and urged residents to avoid walking through flood waters.

Flood waters

• Water in Emerald has now peaked and is starting to drop slowly.

• The peak water flow is moving east towards Blackwater, and is expected

to reach the Bedford Weir later today.

• There is NO further large inflow expected into the dam at this time.

Power

• Ergon Energy gave a briefing about the process they will use to inspect

and restore power to houses. This information will be available at

evacuation centres, from Council and on the website. They are having

additional staff brought in from across the state to assist.

Recovery

• The Recovery Group has been established and will operate initially from

the Emerald Art Gallery. They are currently focusing on arranging waste

collection, providing information about re entering houses and clean up

and will be coordinating cleaning resources including volunteer work

crews.

Accommodation

• The Habitat will remain in Emerald at the airport until a clearer

assessment of demand and appropriate location is made. (The habitat

provides emergency accommodation for 150 people.)

• Red Cross reported that 428 people stayed at evacuation centres last

night.

Roads

• The Vince Lester Bridge remains closed. Main Roads personnel

anticipate being able to begin assessments and repairs early next. It will

be still some days until the bridge is reopen to traffic.

• Even though water at the LN1 on the highway north of Emerald is

receding, significant damage has been caused to the culvert under the

highway. Under no circumstances is anyone to try to cross this

channel. Main Roads will assess and repair the road as soon as

practicable. Traffic controls will be in place on both sides of the water

course.

Health

• Temporary Hospital Clinics remain open at the Ag College and in Anakie

St at Belman House. These will remain open until all vehicle access to the

hospital is available.

• Water sampling will commence next week. Council will be seeking

additional resources to assist with public health management issues.

• Treated water supplies remain good in Emerald and Blackwater.

• Residents should avoid walking through flood waters.

• When cleaning houses that have been inundated, it is important for

residents to separate food and domestic waste from "clean" waste (eg

carpets, damaged furniture, white goods etc. Further information about

waste collections will be provided as soon as arrangements are

confirmed.

Resources

• Additional police resources will be arriving today and Monday. Police

continue to provide 24 hour water patrols. Prevention of looting remains

their highest priority.

• Monday will see the arrival of 44 SES volunteers from NSW and Victoria,

to assist with the recovery process.

• The 80 pallets of cleaning products should be in Emerald tomorrow. They

will be distributed through the Recovery Group and be available on both

sides of the river.

The Local Disaster Management Group will meet again at 9.00 am tomorrow


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