10 Jan 2011

NZ team starts flood cleanup work in Queensland

7:14 am on 10 January 2011

The New Zealand team in Queensland to help with the cleanup after the floods has started digging mud, silt and debris out of houses.

The 15 volunteers are based in Condamine, northwest of Brisbane, and are hoping to get people back into their homes now the water has receded in the township.

New Zealand's liaison to Emergency Management Queensland, Ian Wilson, says they're dealing with emotional and vulnerable people, whose homes have been flooded for the second time in a year.

"This is the second time that the water levels have got to this height in 10 months - and it's deemed to be a one in 100 year flood for the township of Condamine. They are really suffering."

Mr Wilson says the disaster has left some homes with mud-coated walls and deep sludge on the floor.

He says wet furniture is rotting in the heat, while snakes and spiders are often hiding around items that need removing.

Mr Wilson says the team is helping in response to Australian help during the Canterbury earthquake and the Pike River mining disaster, and would stay longer than the planned 10 days if required.

The floods have caused four deaths, swamped coal mines, hit agriculture and washed away roads and railways.