2010–2011 Queensland floods
|A woman trapped on the roof of her car awaits|
rescue during the Toowoomba flash flood
Duration: December 2010 – January 2011
Fatalities: 38 dead and 6 missing
Damages: A$30 billion
Areas affected: Much of central and southern Queensland including Brisbane, Rockhampton, Emerald, Bundaberg, Dalby, Toowoomba, and Ipswich
A series of floods hit Australia, beginning in December 2010, primarily in the state of Queensland including its capital city, Brisbane. The floods forced the evacuation of thousands of people from towns and cities. At least 70 towns and over 200,000 people were affected. Damage initially was estimated at around A$1 billion. The estimated reduction in Australia's GDP is about A$30 billion.
Fitzroy River basin
Burnett River basin
Condamine/Balonne River basin
Mary River basin
Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley
The central business district of the city sits in a small valley where two small water courses—East Creek and West Creek—meet to form Gowrie Creek. Unable to cope with the volume of water heading toward them, the creeks burst their banks, pushing a devastating wall of water through the city centre. This water then headed west, not towards the Lockyer Valley which was also experiencing extreme rainfall that fell on eastern facing slopes.
The surge passed through the Lockyer Valley town of Withcott, where the force of the water pushed cars into shops and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people. The scene was described by an onlooker as "like Cyclone Tracy has gone through it ... If you dropped an atom bomb on it, you couldn't tell the difference." Nearby Helidon had several homes and farms flooded but did not break the main creek bank and enter the town. It was cutoff from all sides by destroyed roads. Grantham was also devastated by the surge of water. Houses were left crumpled by what Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh described as an "inland tsunami".
According to local media, the flood waters had reached a height of 7 or 8 m (23 or 26 ft) by the time it struck Grantham. At least 100 people were evacuated to the Helidon Community Hall. Nine people were confirmed dead, and many more feared dead among 66 reported missing. The body of one victim washed away at Grantham was recovered 80 kilometres (50 mi) downstream and Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson warned that some bodies may never be found. Nearby Gatton saw voluntary evacuations as the Lockyer Creek rose to a record height of 18.92 metres (62.1 ft), exceeding the previous record set in the 1893 Queensland floods.
Three people from Grantham listed as missing were officially declared dead by the Coroner on 5 June 2012.
Brisbane River catchment
The first death was reported on 20 November 2010, when a woman drowned in her vehicle near Dysart. In the following weeks, five others died from similar circumstances. Nine people drowned after being caught directly by the flowing waters. And thirteen people died in other circumstances.
Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard toured flood-affected areas on 31 December, the day before The Queen (Elizabeth II), sent her expressions of concern and sympathy for the victims of the floods to her representative in Queensland, Governor Penelope Wensley.
The Queen later made a donation to her Queensland premier's flood relief appeal, as did her son, The Prince of Wales. In March 2011, The Prince's eldest son, Prince William, toured the affected areas in Queensland, as well as those damaged by the floods in Victoria.
Major General Michael Slater was appointed head of a civilian recovery task force. Slater was at the time also the Commander of the 1st Division based at the Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera, Brisbane. The taskforce was later replaced by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, a new body created to co-ordinate the rebuilding program.