Just over a week ago, members of the Bingara SES went to Goodooga to assist that community with preparations for the approaching flood.
They returned home on Saturday for a short rest before leaving again on Monday morning to go to Boggabilla, where they are assisting residents who are returning to their muddy homes, having been evacuated last week.
Presently there are four local SES members in Boggabilla. They are Team Leader, Geoff Leech, Swift Water Technician, Peter Turnbull and Lisa Laird. They have been joined by Michael Manton from Warialda.
The team is skilled in flood boat rescue and aerial rescues. The Bingara team is relieving the Boggabilla crew which was on duty last week in the town.
Mr Leech told The Advocate that they are there to assist the residents of Boggabilla to return to normality now that the flood is subsiding.
People have been “trickling” back since the roads have been re-opened between Moree and Boggabilla.
“If people need assistance with anything, we are here to help,” Mr Leech said.
He did say he wasn’t too sure what they could do about the “almighty smell” which is pervading everything as the waters recede.
After spending three days in Boggabilla, the team will move on to Mungindi, which is preparing for the flood peak expected this Friday. According to Mr Leech, the levy bank is expected to hold the flood waters back but houses, stations and stock outside the levy banks will need food and fodder drops, as well as possibly medical evacuations.
The team is in and out of helicopters all day long, making trip from Moree to Boggabilla by helicopter, as all road access was flooded.
The SES is in radio contact with headquarters in Moree, receiving messages by UHF and VHF to the helicopters. “We receive requests for assistance and we act upon them,” Mr Leech said. “We are hearing helicopters in our sleep!”
After seven days deployment, the team is given a couple of days rest and then they’re back to the action.
Mr Leech said they might even find themselves in Victoria the way things are looking down there.
Indeed, he said “the most work the SES does in Bingara is out of the area. Bingara is such a beautiful, peaceful spot, nothing ever happens there!”