Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Mar-Apl 2012 Contents Aged Care Queensland
State Conference and Exhibition 20 - 23 March 2012
Jupiters, Gold Coast
Dr. Norman Swan
For more information please call
07 3725 5588 or
OVER 30 AGED care residents
from the flood ravaged
Queensland town of St George
were caught up in the commotion
of what was dubbed the 'largest
single evacuation in the state's
flooding history', when rising
water levels threatened residents'
safety back in February.
Churches of Christ Care's
Warrawee Aged Care Services,
located on the Balonne River,
evacuated 34 residents and an
elderly neighbour from the town after
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh
declared a Mandatory Evacuation
Order on Sunday 5 February.
The seniors were flown from St
George to Gold Coast Airport in
two trips -- four high care residents
arrived by CareFlight early in the
morning and 30 by a RAAF C-130
Hercules in the afternoon.
Thirty residents were
transported by Queensland
Ambulance Services to six
aged care service providers at
Southport and Ashmore, and to
two Churches of Christ Care aged
care services. St George Hospital
are said to have taken four of the
facility's higher care residents and
one went home to be with family.
The recent flooding
emergency marks the facility's
third evacuation in three years.
Churches of Christ,
Queensland's CEO, Dean Phelan,
said the operation, supported by
their Crisis Management Team,
ran smoothly as the organisation
immediately enacted its Emergency
Response Plan which placed
residents' care as the top priority.
"We learnt many lessons from
last year's floods and have fine
tuned our emergency response,"
Mr Phelan said.
"...For two thirds of our
residents, this is their third
evacuation in as many years...
Moving this many people, some
with specific health needs, is a
huge logistical operation but our
staff have done an outstanding
job of providing ongoing care and
support, and organising records."
Last year, floodwaters lapped
at the facility's doorstep but
this time around, residents and
staff were not so lucky, despite
extensive sandbagging efforts.
Mr Phelan confirmed at
least half a meter of water entered
the facility, making it weeks before
residents are allowed back in.
Floodwaters seeped through
the premises despite the fact
that a four-kilometre dirt levee
around the town - which excluded
the facility's grounds - was built
by Emergency Services in a last
minute effort to hold against the
Balonne River's rising waters.
"The levee bank doesn't
extend to the aged care facility
[even though] it is the only one in
St George and we are one of the
larger employers in the area."
Mr Phelan said he understood
the Emergency Services volunteers
who built the levee did the very best
they could and commends them on
a job well done.
"But this is the third time in
a row our building has been
flooded. We are absolutely going
to follow that [issue] through."
Almost a week out from the
event, the Queensland Police
Service (QPS) were still not
allowing residents to return
home due to safety and hygiene
concerns arising from the flooding
of the town's sewerage plant.
The QPS decision to keep the
Mandatory Evacuation Order in
place and refuse entry back into the
town was based on advice from the
State Disaster Management Group
and local authorities.
"The town is unsafe for your
return, and until it is safe for you
to return, police roadblocks will
be maintained and people will be
turned back for their own safety,"
QPS media said.
The Sunday evacuation saw
around 3,000 residents flee St
George based on a Bureau
Third time unlucky for St George residents
A staff photo taken out the front of the flooded Churches of
Christ Care's Warrawee Aged Care Service, St George (QLD)
In an emergency, call 000 for
Police, Fire and Ambulance.
Or, for help with rising
floodwaters or storm damage,
call the SES 13 25 00.
of Meteorology prediction that
the Balonne River could peak
at 15 metres on the Tuesday.
Many residents sought refuge
in evacuation centres nearby in
Dalby and Brisbane.
Authorities later welcomed the
news that water levels did not reach
15 metres however the situation
was far from positive, with flood
peaks hitting a new unprecedented
record of 14.5 metres.
The organisation plans to launch
an appeal for the flood-affected
residents. More information will be
released after the time of writing.
com.au for more details. n
By Yasmin Noone
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