Former Tauranga residents are among those caught in the flooding that continues to batter the Australian state of Queensland with four people now reported dead.
Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald’s has brought a path of destruction through the state with the latest victim a three-year—old boy from Bundaberg who died of severe head injuries after he was hit by a falling tree in the city’s north.
Maroochydore residents look on as sea foam continues to wash on to the harbour front.
The child was with his family watching floodwaters rise at Gordon Park from the Kedron Brook bikeway when a large gum tree fell on them.
Ex-Tauranga resident Bevan Mieklejohn, who now lives in Maroochydore, says it has been raining non-stop with high winds intensifying on Saturday as the tropical cyclone advanced across the state’s border leaving rising rivers in its wake.
He says the town has not received the full brunt of the Queensland flood crisis in comparison to Gladstone, Bundaberg, Hervey Bay and Gympie and now Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
“We saw a lot of canopies and sun shades on apartments had been ripped off as well as numerous trees down. Some of the roads look like they have a grass verge down the centre of them from all the leaves that have been stripped off the trees.”
Flooding hits Alexandra Headland.
Bevan says the massive volume of sea foam building up on the streets almost looks like snow from a distance and has begun to move on to the streets about 100 meters away from the edge of the beach.
“It’s not just a bit of foam on the road. A give-way sign was only just visible above it, which would give you an idea of how high it is. It would easily cover a car if you drove through.
“I wonder how work will look when I go back today. We had water coming into the showroom under the doors and wind was tearing our flags to pieces.”
Last night 1500 stranded residents were airlifted from the flood-hit town of Bundaberg as fast-flowing waters reached speeds of 70kmh.
There are more than 2000 homes underwater in the town with thousands of residents bunkered down in schools and at the site of the town’s new Argo-Trend showgrounds.
Brisbane and Ipswich residents are bracing for flood peaks expected today in areas containing nearly 5000 homes, units and commercial properties.
However, residents have been assured the floods will not exceed the floods from two years ago where 35 people were killed, leaving A$6billion worth of damage.
Floods are expected to peak in Ipswich early today. The Ipswich peak is expected to be about 15 metres, almost five metres below the 19.4 metre peak in 2011.
The state government yesterday opened up disaster assistance funding to residents of 10 more Queensland regions.
The Insurance Council of Australia says A$43 million worth of insurance claims had already been lodged.