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Evacuations from Queensland flooding

Saturday 26 Jan 2013 4:49 p.m.

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Residents in the Queensland town of Gladstone have been evacuated as the Boyne River, which runs alongside it, reached the highest level in 100 years.

Rockhampton was also badly hit as the state struggles with widespread flooding after torrential rain caused by an ex-tropical cyclone. The streets in Rockhampton became rivers after the area saw its heaviest rainfall since 1939.

Some streets couldn't cope with the deluge. The roads are now cracked and broken.

Houses didn't fare any better.

“Basically it just sounded like a freight train,” says a local resident. “It all just came down at once.”

A landslide crashed into his two-story house. Mud now runs down the walls. The ceiling collapsed and the floor is sodden.

“Basically we've got nothing left,” he says. “Everything we own is in there – everything we own.”

“When I was in the kitchen I thought it was thunder,” says the resident's partner. “Then I looked into the study and I saw it fill up with dirt.”

Some motorists had to be airlifted to safety after becoming stranded. And motorists went to the aid of a taxi driver who didn't see the water until it was too late.

“He couldn't open the door because of the pressure of the water either, so we all went over and opened the door for him and pushed him out of the water,” says one good Samaritan.

Strong winds were also recorded, some up to 125km/h – enough to uproot a tree.

At least 10 boats were smashed and destroyed as they hit a seawall after coming loose from their moorings.

For residents in Ingham floods are nothing new. But many Australia Day celebrations have been cancelled in Queensland.

Brisbane is now on standby. It could be next to see flooding.

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