AT LEAST 400 Rockhampton residents have abandoned their flooded homes and hundreds more are expected to leave over the next two days as the Fitzroy River heads towards an expected peak of 9.4 metres.
The city is now cut off to the south and it’s only a matter of time before the Bruce Highway is cut at Alligator Creek , Yaamba, effectively isolating approximately 90,000 people in the city and Capricorn Coast.
Rockhampton Airport, which was closed early on Saturday afternoon, could be out of commission for up to 20 days.
About 4000 properties are expected to be inundated, with water entering the living areas of about 400. Electrical power has already been cut to more than 200 houses where it was impossible to prevent the rising waters covering power points and appliances.
State Emergency Services say 1000 Rockhampton residents will need to be evacuated.
Mayor Brad Carter yesterday described the crisis as a tragedy for those who had to leave their homes to the mercy of the filthy flood.
But he said the community spirit and attitude of those worst affected was inspirational.
“It’s tragic and difficult to comprehend what is happening here,” he said.
“There is a lot of stress and tension and you can see it on the faces of those who have to walk away from their homes.”
Acting Superintendent David Peff said officers had often spent up to an hour explaining to some people why they should agree to evacuate, but up to yesterday afternoon police had not had to forcibly remove anyone.
He said he had personally supervised the closure of the Bruce Highway at Yeppen on Saturday evening and had left it until the very last second.
“There is now at least half a metre of water over the bridge and it is expected to be closed for 10 days,” he said.
Police were monitoring the bridge over Alligator Creek and would keep it open as long as possible, he said.
Although traffic is being allowed to cross the bridge heading north, police are restricting movements into Rockhampton.
Travellers who have found themselves stranded in the city can find a bed at the evacuation centre.
Supermarkets throughout the city remained open yesterday after restocking on Friday and Saturday but Cr Carter said it was unclear how long the food would last and some filling stations have run out of fuel.
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