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Online maps a first for disaster areas

CREEPING TIDE: New maps mean residents will have more of a chance to predict inundation levels. cont
CREEPING TIDE: New maps mean residents will have more of a chance to predict inundation levels. cont

DEVASTATED disaster victims will have a more accurate idea for future flood events after the State Government this week launched aerial maps of affected towns and regions.

Emerald residents can now access the maps online, which accurately outline the areas of the town inundated by floodwaters.

It is a state-wide first, the Queensland Reconstruction Authority’s images cover more than 100 communities affected by the floods and cyclones with the intention of the site acting as a reference guide for residents in the future to be better prepared.

“To prepare for future events, we need to do better than educated guesses and this website can help make Queenslanders more prepared than ever before,” Premier Anna Bligh said.

“This is a first. In past flood events, such as Brisbane’s 1974 floods and other major flood events in the state, mapping of flood lines has been done by measuring the water gauge heights and then relying on available land contours to make an educated guess on where the water went.

“We intended this site to act as a tool people can use during future natural disasters, to access reliable flood maps.”

For Emerald residents such as Eric Hertsch, whose Kidd St home was engulfed by about 640mm of floodwater, it will come as a useful resource in future wet seasons.

Mr Hertsch spoke to the Central Queensland News just weeks after the flood and said he could have taken more precautions preparing his home if more accurate predictions were given by the Bureau of Meteorology.

“We did have quite a few days but first up, they were saying it would be about the 2008 level, and I didn’t get flooded in 2008,” he said.

“I wasn’t that worried. I was doing things but not massive amounts like other people were doing.

“I sort of thought it might not be too bad and then the predictions started climbing and that’s when I started getting serious and putting things up.”

Mr Hertsch sandbagged the front of his home, but said: “in hindsight, it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d sandbagged the whole house”.

Reconstruction Authority Chair Major General Mick Slater said the maps would be given to councils for both internal urban planning and for public display in council offices.

“We have captured very accurate flood lines for more than 100 of Queensland’s hardest hit communities,” he said.

The maps can be viewed online at www.qldreconstruction.org.au.


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