An Echuca business owner has provided makeshift refuges for flood-affected residents in the Queensland town of Bundaberg.By Ivy Wise
Marquees from Echuca’s Stride Events are usually hired for weddings or parties.
However, four are providing refuge for Bundaberg’s displaced residents following the town’s worst flood on record last month.
Stride Events owner Anthony Stevens secured the government contract to provide a 15m by 30m marquee and three 10m by 12m marquees through a relationship with Yes Events in Queensland.
He spent last week helping to set up the temporary tent accommodation at the showgrounds; the large tent being used as a common and dining area, while the other three are used for sleeping, with 40 single beds in each.
The 320-bed air-conditioned camp can feed up to 450 people and includes a laundry, toilets and mobile kitchen.
‘‘We started erecting it on Monday and were finished by lunchtime Friday,’’ Mr Stevens said.
‘‘We worked from first thing in the morning until dark, so we didn’t get to see any of the devastation.
‘‘We did see people coming in on buses; some of them with kids or just carrying a bag or two.
‘‘That was pretty sad to see. These people had been made homeless and the only thing they had left was what they were carrying.’’
Of the 1500 people in Bundaberg who were displaced because of the floods, about 300 have been staying in the evacuation centre.
Queensland Housing Minister Tim Mander recently said he believed people would stay at the camp for ‘‘weeks rather than months’’.
‘‘I’m not really sure how long they will need them for. As long as it takes I guess,’’ Mr Stevens said.
‘‘The town is very busy, with the SES and army out and about and Queensland Government workers fixing homes.’’
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