Queensland storm havoc

Four people have lost their lives and tens of thousands have been evacuated as the weather front of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald moves south into New South Wales.

In the most heavily affected area, three RACQ Careflight helicopters and two army Black Hawks were used to airlift over 1500 stranded residents from the City of Bundaberg to safety with further rescues required to evacuate North Bundaberg residents who had no other option but to climb onto roof tops for safety from the 70km/h flood waters.

The flooding across Queensland is not as severe as the 2010/2011 floods which claimed 38 lives, but it will have a significant impact on the lives of many, with thousands of homes under water, rail networks badly damaged and schools closed across the state.

Read more from the Brisbane Times.

Opinion: Deaths were avoidable

From all accounts, it appears that all but one of the four reported deaths from the flooding could have been avoided through more care and responsibility. The latest death occurred when a large gum tree fell on a three-year-old boy and his 34-year-old pregnant mother who were watching floodwaters rise at their local park. The mother is in critical condition in hospital with broken bones and head injuries.

While this death is the only case where curiosity was the killer, there is no doubt that many other people have put themselves and their families at risk by travelling in the severe weather conditions to watch rising water. This was well documented last night on the news with footage of a young woman holding her baby in one arm and a camera in the other, to take photos of the rising swells at the beach.

Another potentially avoidable death was that of a 27-year-old man travelling with his family. While attempting to cross a flooded creek near Gympie, their car was swamped with water and washed down stream. The mother clung to trees for over four hours before being rescued while the step-father was rescued shortly after the car was taken by the water.

It seems that common sense no longer exists in Australia with lives carelessly thrown away due to curiosity and recklessness. When there is a severe flood warning and ex-tropical cyclone overhead is it important to follow a few simple steps. Keep the news on for warnings and alerts at all times, never go outside unless you need to leave the area, have an evacuation plan in place and most importantly, remind your friends and family to be cautious.

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