An aerial photo of the Baffle Creek area after the January 2013 floods.
An aerial photo of the Baffle Creek area after the January 2013 floods. Brenda Strong

Operation Baffle Creek: Accessing the inaccessible

A MASSIVE coordinated effort by half a dozen emergency organisations has been underway in tough conditions this week as authorities worked to access and assist communities stuck in flood waters in the Baffle Creek area.

It has been widely reported that Baffle Creek, Rosedale and other communities were hit hard by floods on the weekend and then cut off from the outside world when roads were inundated and telephone networks broke down.

What most people haven't seen is the extraordinary logistical mission to reach stranded residents as the Gladstone Local Disaster Management Group put strategies in place.

Before Tuesday, harsh conditions restricted access to the area.

On Tuesday, Police travelled over land to a location as close to Baffle Creek as flood waters would allow.

At that location, they established a command centre which was used by Police, Queensland Fire and Rescue, the ambulance service, Ergon Energy, SES and the Rural Fire Service.

Water police went in with their boat, and an SES flood boat was also used.

The authorities conducted welfare checks with the assistance of a fire truck, which had been stranded in the area, able to drive around, but not drive out.

Gladstone district disaster coordinator Acting Superintendent Michael Sawrey said the day was about checking on residents' welfare and establishing a presence to address community concerns.

Water police located six children under five-years-old with highly infectious sores.

The children were transported with their parents to the command centre, and then taken by ambulance to Gladstone hospital.

On Wednesday, the mission continued. Insulin and other medication were taken into the area.

Police conducted a meeting with residents in Baffle Creek, which was also attended by Queensland Fire and Rescue.

The Rapid Assessment Team spent the day accessing the area and assessing damage to homes and Water Police conducted more welfare checks with the assistance of ambulance services in Baffle Creek and Deepwater.

A major priority was relaying information to residents, who had had virtually no way of communicating with the outside world.

Acting Superintendent Sawrey paid tribute the coordinated effort of all organisations involved and the Local Disaster Management Group, which is consists of all relevant organisations and Gladstone Regional Council.