Kiwis join SES relief mission

MORE than 1100 calls for help have been made to the Ipswich State Emergency Service during the past two weeks.

A vast duty list beyond the clean-up has involved filling and delivering about 9000 sand bags, tarping damaged roofs and chainsaw jobs with fallen trees.

About 100 active volunteers from Ipswich, Goodna, Marburg and Rosewood SES groups have been working tirelessly across the region.

Ipswich SES local controller Arie van den Ende said 20 teams from the Northern Territory SES were working at Moores Pocket Road, North Ipswich, while teams from the ACT were cleaning up at Bundamba.

“We have 44 from the local unit on the ground today focusing on Darling Street, West Ipswich,” Mr van den Ende said.

“An extra 84 people arrived today from New Zealand, NT and Tasmania. They’ve been sent straight to Somerset.

“On Sunday we had 80 volunteers out to feed people, for transport, to clean and remove furniture, and help with communications.”

Operations were scaling back as the defence force and civilian volunteers continued to assist in the clean-up, freeing up SES volunteers to return to their place of work.

“To be honest today we told most of our members to go and check their own homes and see to their employment,” Mr van den Ende said.

Ipswich SES deputy group leader Ken Ord was in the operations room at the depot during the crises.

“We used our flood boat to rescue people stranded and inadvertently caught up in the rising floodwaters,” Mr Ord said.

“The resilience of the people has been amazing. People who have lost everything are out there helping their neighbours in the clean-up process.

“We’ve had people come to the depot to volunteer and have said: ‘“My house is gone, but I may as well be doing something to help others. Cannot do much at home at the moment’.”

He said volunteers weren’t exempt from damage, with up to 40 people affected.

“Like many other people, some have had their own homes flooded,” he said. “They endeavoured to get their house back to a sense of normality and then were back to help others.

“Such is the depth of our dedication and responsibility to service our community.”

Marburg group leader Beth Suhr was evacuated from her Sadliers Crossing home on Tuesday.

“It almost hit us but we were lucky,” Mrs Suhr said.

“At the back of my place it drops away to the river, 25 metres below.

“The water came right up to the top so I had to evacuate. All I took with me was my three grandkids, three cats and my dog.”

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