Lockdown was justified: Police

WHEN the January flood disaster struck, Grantham residents were forced to stay away from their homes while emergency services and military scoured the area for bodies.

During the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry in Toowoomba Detective Inspector Brett Schafferius defended the decision as he and other police didn't want people to return and find any grisly discoveries.

Grantham residents were refused entry back into the town, could not get into their homes and could not collect their cherished possessions for eight days, causing further frustration for many.

Darren and Sue Steinhardt used to lived in Grantham but were still asking questions about the inquiry, as they are in limbo with insurance.

Mr Steinhardt said in response to some of the answers that have come out of the inquiry, there still needs to be quicker response times for the future and alarm systems need to be put in place.

“It is all about the warning and no one would have thought that this would have come through,” he said.

“There also needs to be better creek management in place, so it can be smoother running and clean all the debris out that holds up the water flow.”

Co-ordinator of the Grantham Community Centre, Julie Johnson, lives a bit out of Grantham, and during the flood disaster, she received a call from her daughter who had been airlifted to check on her pets.

“I walked down to see if they could get through and their house was not totally under,” she said.

“There were police everywhere and everyone was as confused as each other.

“But everyone got in and started working together, it's what communities do, and we all did our bit.”

Ms Johnson said the lockdown was necessary because there were people missing everywhere.

“They didn't want them seeing their loved ones in case they were gone,” she said.

“They needed specialists in there to search for the people, that's the most sensible thing that could have happened.

“Although it was traumatic for them not knowing about the welfare of their relatives and pets I think it was a sensible decision.

“[Rescue teams] did find some bodies within those days and some people got closure.”

Ms Johnson said many residents were stressed and they wanted to know why they couldn't go home to check on things.

“People did the best they could under the circumstances, especially the amount of people working in the council,” she said.

“You have to be realistic. Because most people would have never experienced this so how could you expect them to cope.”


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