The road to Roma cut by high floodwaters.
The road to Roma cut by high floodwaters. Sue Williamson

Volunteers head west

VOLUNTEERS from Warwick are making their way west to saturated western towns of Roma and Mitchell - exactly 12 months since their deployment north after Cyclone Yasi.

Warwick State Emergency Service (SES) co-ordinator John Newley said a group of 10 volunteers was due to leave the Rose City in the wee hours of this morning to wherever help was needed.

"It will be the normal sand-bagging help, along with boat crews and helping people shift furniture," he said. "It will be up to five days' deployment."

The number of volunteers has been chosen carefully, to leave behind enough in Warwick should disaster strike more locally.

Mr Newley was unsure exactly how the volunteers would make it to their destination, with not only roads cut but reports a number of regional airports had gone under water.

"They might not even be able to get there, it all depends on the water and how much floodwaters are rising," he said.

"There has been a lot of volunteers keen to help, and people like myself that have commitments and can't get away at the moment.

"The last time (we were deployed elsewhere) was Cyclone Yasi - it's been pretty quiet lately, which is good."

Two residents in the flood-affected town of Mitchell, Valerie Clauson and Robin Bayliss, may be receiving help from the Warwick troops.

Their sister, Warwick resident Jennifer Brown, had been in touch with them and said water was up to the second step of Valerie's house by 8am yesterday.

"It is worrying - she's staying put in her home," she said. "She's got a laundromat but she didn't know whether there was water in it or not. She didn't want to go out into the floodwaters."

Mrs Brown lived in Mitchell during the town's last major flood in '56 and said while huge, it was "nothing compared to what they have at the moment".

Ironically, Mrs Brown experienced floods herself last year, when her Fitzroy St home went under.


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