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Forced evacuations from Theodore

THE army has been brought into help evacuate residents from flood ravaged Theodore, with black hawk helicopters helping move residents to Moura, Cracow and Biloela.

Mandatory evacuations have started, with Theodore declared a disaster area. People have been air lifted out all day, with the RACQ rescue Capricorn helicopter and Cracow gold mine chopper also being used.

Around 250 residents have been air lifted out to mine camps at Moura and Cracow and to Biloela.

At 3pm today (Tuesday) Banana Shire Council Local District Management Group decided to initiate a mandatory evacuation of remaining residents and personnel in Theodore. 

This decision was based on increasing failure of services such as sewerage treatment and power and reduced availability of water supplies. 

Major flooding is expected to remain in the Theodore area for some days to come, with the Dawson River level at Theodore 14.64 metres and rising slowly. Acting Mayor Maureen Clancy said they hoped to continue chopper flights into the night with the black hawk choppers hoped to be used, after finding a suitable landing area.

Banana Shire Local District Management Group is liaising with RSPCA personnel to arrange for emergency evacuation of domestic pets in the Theodore area. 

River levels are no longer able to be monitored as SES personnel are no longer able to access facilities, however levels continue to rise.

River levels have now exceeded that recorded during the 1956 flood event. 

The last warning advice was issued by Bureau of Meteorology at 7.06am today (Tuesday) and advised overnight heavy rainfall in the Upper Dawson River was expected to produce fast river level rises and a return to major flood levels expected to peak at 8.3 metres at Taroom late today and into early Wednesday.

Fast river level rises are also occurring downstream to Moura where a major flood peak to about 12.5 metres is expected in the next 24 hours. Levels will remain high into next week. Major flooding is rising at Baralaba, with fast rises expected as upstream floodwaters arrive. A level of 14.35m was recorded for Baralaba at 9am this morning. Higher levels to 14.5 metres are possible.   Flood levels at Baralaba have exceeded the 1983 flood.

Numerous local roads in the Theodore area are inaccessible due to flooding and caution must be observed when travelling these roads. Travel only if absolutely necessary.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads has issued advice that there have been closures on the Leichhardt, Burnett and Dawson Highways, as well as the Eidsvold-Theodore Road. 
For further information on all State road closures, please call 131 940 or visit the Department of Transport & Main Roads’ website www.131940.qld.gov.au.

Due to local rainfall in the Banana Shire area there has been numerous local roads affected by water inundation. Due care to be taken and caution must be observed when travelling these roads.

Residents are urged not to drive through floodwaters unnecessarily and to observe traffic signage and road closures.

Jambin is flooded, with one family evacuated this morning.

Biloela had some flooding in low lying areas after over 100mm last night.

Residents of Theodore will be offered financial assistance to help them recover from the record-breaking flooding.
Acting Premier Paul Lucas today (Tuesday) said Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements had been activated to help evacuated residents as quickly as possible.
Essential Household Contents and Structural Assistance Grants will also be available to help uninsured Theodore residents whose homes have been flooded.
"The resilience and strong sense of community among Queenslanders is certainly on display across the state as we confront these unprecedented events,” Mr Lucas said.
"The Government is working to ensure residents of the worst affected areas, like Theodore, receive the help they need as soon as possible.
"We are offering personal hardship assistance to residents of Theodore, who are being evacuated today.
"The Government will also provide assistance to Theodore residents whose homes are not insured.
These grants are income and asset tested, to make sure that help goes to people that need it most. “
Community Services Minister Karen Struthers said support would available in evacuation centres to help affected individuals and families who lost food, clothing, medical supplies and access to their homes.
"We are working with individuals and families to get them whatever support they need, including referrals to non-government organisations," Ms Struthers said.

"I visited the HACC Centre in Theodore earlier this year and joined residents for lunch, I wish them all well.”
Primary producers are urged to contact the QRAA for assistance or go to the www.qraa.qld.gov.au website.
People who are experiencing personal hardship due to the flooding can contact the Department of Communities on 1800 173 349 or visit www.communities.qld.gov.au for updates on the types and availability of support that is available.


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