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Queensland's flood disaster continues -

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TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: In Queensland where more mass evacuations are taking place as the flood
crisis continues.

Emergency Services are now focusing on the towns of Bundaberg, Emerald and Rockhampton, where river
levels are yet to peak.

The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has kick-started a disaster relief fund with a $1 million
donation, and the Federal Government has matched it.

The town of Theodore is deserted after its residents were airlifted to safety. The flooding has
reached record levels there, but the swollen Dawson River is still rising, increasing concerns for
the community's future.

Annie Guest reports from Central Queensland.

ANNIE GUEST, REPORTER: Twenty-year-old John Horton was born and raised in Theodore and can't
believe he has to go, but his home, his car and most of his belongings are underwater.

JOHN HORTON, FLOOD VICTIM: Yeah, just devastating, hey. It's a bloody disgrace. I went there... I
don't know, 5:30 the other morning and it was... I don't know, ankle deep and then I went back
about... oh about 11:00 o'clock or something, she was up knee-deep. Fridges, freezers all sorts of
shit just bobbing around the house.

ANNIE GUEST: The young mine worker had just spent his life savings setting up a new home with his

We just pretty well bought all new furniture, just everything, we'd just done up the whole house,
so yeah, 15 grand maybe.

ANNIE GUEST: Despite being reluctant to leave, John Horton has been helping emergency workers
manage some of the animals as they're prepared for evacuation.

JOHN HORTON: Ah, haven't slept for... yeah, a fair while now. I get an hour here or there or get
something and haven't eaten; I had a burger this morning since 9:00 o'clock Monday night, so.

ANNIE GUEST: Also on hand through the evacuation has been the long-time local doctor and medical
superintendent of the hospital, Bruce Chater. But he, too, has suffered because of the record
flooding hitting Theodore, with his home and practice built up over 32 years waist deep in water.

BRUCE CHATER, DOCTOR, THEODORE MEDICAL CENTRE: It's heartbreaking, really, because we have put a
lot of effort in. We've probably got - had got... we probably had one of the best practices you'd
find in the country with an X-ray and everything and it's gone under and a few other things.

You've got a tourniquet in here.

ANNIE GUEST: And like many out here, Dr Chater doesn't have insurance.

BRUCE CHATER: We never got around to doing it and flood insurance is always horrendously expensive
in the past, so no-one ever took it out, so yeah, we just, you start again.

ANNIE GUEST: Margaret Dale has lived in Theodore for all of her 66 years. She saw the last major
flood when she was 10 years old, but nothing prepared her for this.

MARGARET DALE, FLOOD VICTIM: We didn't ever think that it would come to this. We thought that we
would be able to, what they say, live it out and you know, find higher ground within the town. We
didn't think we'd have to move out like this.

ANNIE GUEST: It's the second time this year flooding has ravaged cotton crops around Theodore. The
last record-setting flood here was in 1956, but this time the Dawson River has gone higher, and
it's still rising.

Beyond the helicopter pad in the main boulevard, the streets of Theodore are eerily empty.

The community's like a ghost town. Most of its residents have been evacuated to nearby Moura and
they have no idea how soon they can return home.

At the evacuation centre provided by a mining company in Moura, Margaret Dale and husband John are
reflecting on their upheaval.

MARGARET DALE: I'm feeling really sad at the moment, because I've been separated from my dogs and
we just don't know what the future holds really.

JOHN DALE, FLOOD VICTIM: Not just now, but I think in a week's time I'll be pleased I'm not in
Theodore. That, what's settling down, coming down those rivers mate, I think this is the wisest

ANNIE GUEST: Elsewhere, too, homes are being evacuated, with the next big flooding events expected
in Bundaberg, Rockhampton and later, Emerald. The Premier Anna Bligh cut short her holidays to tour

ANNA BLIGH, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: Well, it's absolutely clear this is a devastating event for the
people of Bundaberg and the Burnett region. This river is set to peak at somewhere around 7.5
meters. At that level it will be bigger than the flood in the 1950s, so there's a lot of people
going to be hurt by this event. Our heart goes out to everyone who's been affected.

ANNIE GUEST: The State Government has also announced and contributed $1 million to a flood appeal.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: Today, I can announce that the Australian Government will match that
donation with $1 million.

ANNIE GUEST: The floods are expected to cost more than $6 billion in lost exports and damage.

In areas further south, some people are starting to return home in Warwick and in Dalby on the
Darling Downs. But despite all the rain they've had, residents have had to limit their water use in
Dalby, thanks to a damage water treatment plant.

Meanwhile back in Moura, the Dales are worrying about the future of their hometown of Theodore.
John Dale fears it could take three decades to recover.

JOHN DALE: Well one of the cotton growers told me he'd be back 30 years, and I think the town might
be too. Yeah, you know, that's if there's a town left in a week's time. So, you know, we've got to
wait and see.

TRACY BOWDEN: Annie Guest reporting there from Central Queensland.