Goondiwindi residents on standby as nursing home residents air-lifted to safety

Nursing homes and hospitals in the Queensland town of Goondiwindi have been forced to evacuate, with 10,000 locals on standby to leave the flooded city.

The town has been cut off, and homes flooded, as many prepare for days or potentially weeks of isolation.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) has arrived in town, assisting elderly residents and flying them to safety in towns like Toowoomba and Warwick.

Vulnerable residents have been evacuated on RFDS planes. (Nine)

Extra paramedics have also touched down, assisting health workers and emergency services during the crisis.

Resident Anne Jennings said goodbye to her 85-year-old mother, who has been flown to Toowoomba in a RFDS plane.

Sheila Manton, 83 is happy to be getting out of the town. (Nine)

“Mum’s got dementia, she doesn’t really walk anymore, she doesn’t talk anymore to us and I don’t think she knows who we are. It’s very sad to see her the way she is,” Ms Jennings said.

“She’s not too bad, a little hesitant I would say but I think they’ve calmed her down for the ride. I’m really relieved.”

The Royal Flying Doctors Service is assisting vulnerable residents, evacuating them to towns like Toowoomba and Warwick. (Twitter)

Ms Jennings said it’s now a waiting game to see the impact floods will have on her home, as river levels continue to rise.

“We’re just sitting and waiting, watching the river. We live on the creek as well so it’s a matter of time to see what happens,” she said.

Goondiwindi Mayor Lawrence Springborg urged the community to stay up to date with emergency flood plans and to remain cautious.

The Macintyre River is predicted to reach record-breaking levels, set to hit 10.7 metres tomorrow morning as the river continues to rise. (Nine)

“Watch and act, and make sure you’re prepared, and this community is prepared if we need to come together – that’s just a normal thing we do,” he said.

He said consultation was underway for vulnerable residents, to determine evacuation and safety plans.

“Those that are still able-bodied will be able to remain in homes with family and friends,” Councillor Springborg said.

This afternoon, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services issued an emergency alert for the region, with flood levels and the Macintyre River predicted to reach record-breaking highs.

Several people have been evacuated, with thousands of residents on standby as flood levels continue to rise. (Nine)
Onlookers witnessing the slow rise of the river, which has already reached the town’s main street. (Nine)

The river is tipped to reach 10.7 metres, peaking tomorrow morning, and breaking records set in the town’s 2011 floods.

The town’s levee, protecting Goondiwindi from mass devastation, was established after the tragic floods of 1956 and sits at 10.8 metres.

QFES have said it’s unlikely the floodwaters will surpass the levee bank height but will remain at dangerous flood levels for some time.

“If it doesn’t go over 10.7 metres we’ll be very very secure, and even if it does go a bit over we have some freeboard as well,” Councillor Springborg said.

“We will take the necessary steps if there’s a clear indication it’s likely to go beyond that.”

Councillor Springborg said residents should keep a tight eye on electronic flood gages, and emergency measures and evacuation plans were in place should floodwaters top the 10.8-metre levee.

Queenland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said more areas may require evacuation as the day progresses.

“Local Disaster Management Group and the District Disaster Management Group are in earnest planning for what we believe some areas will need to be evacuated later today,” she said.

“In terms of the rest of the town, there are certainly elevated areas in that town and the town knows, they’re very experienced at this.

“The peak is later this evening into this morning but certainly some of those key decisions are being made as we speak now.”

Several residents downstream have been warned to stock up and prepare for up to weeks of isolation, and all have been urged to stay up to date with emergency warnings.

Nearby towns in Queensland’s south-east are still facing dire flood conditions, with homes in Chinchilla soaked with knee-deep water and torrents of water flooding the main street catching residents off-guard.

The town of Dalby, where just two days ago four children were rescued from floodwaters is still facing rivers on its streets.
Tambo resident Steve O'Connor snapped this incredible picture of a storm system bearing down in over Langlo Road last Sunday

Incredible moment storm bears down over rural town

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