Van park scrambles to avoid flood
By EMMA O'NEILL
ABOUT 4am yesterday, Kyogle Caravan Park residents were roused from their slumber and told to evacuate. A flood was on the way!
Park resident Matt Black said the early wake up call came as no surprise.
"People at the caravan park took turns during the night to stay awake and watch the water levels rise in the river, so we knew it was coming," he said.
The Kyogle Caravan Park, which backs onto the Richmond River, was vacant by lunch time yesterday.
All 43 residents left as a result of continued, heavy rainfall which reached 87mm over 24 hours.
Kyogle Council Worker, Bruno Sudiro, assisted people moving their caravans and belongings from the site and said residents had good reason to leave.
"The second story veranda on the caravan park's main building is only 15 inches higher than the 1954 flood levels, it's gone that high before and it could happen again," he said.
While some residents were able to drive their caravans to higher ground, those without vehicles relied on the aid of SES volunteers, Kyogle Council Workers and caravan park management to vacate the site.
Ian Lister only moved to the Kyogle Caravan Park four weeks ago and did not have a car on site.
His caravan was towed by a local resident.
"I'm glad someone was there to help, because I really didn't have any other option," he said.
Kyogle resident Steve Cox attached Ian's caravan to his 4WD and towed it to a nearby car park on higher ground.
The car park became a temporary home for 10 flood wary caravan owners.
Matt Black was also brought to the site and said things would have been a lot worse without the assistance of the SES, local volunteers and caravan park management.
"Rain brings out people's true colours," he said.
The SES had received eight callouts in the Kyogle area by yesterday afternoon, including two land slides at family homes.
One family was relocated and the SES was monitoring the other home.
According to an SES representative, the family of four had moved into a back shed after the incident, but couldn't be evacuated because flood waters closed a local road and conditions were too dangerous for a helicopter to assist.
The river height peaked at 13.92 metres, classifying Kyogle as a minor flood area.
At 4pm yesterday, the river reached 14.1 metres at the Kyogle Bridge but was far from submerging the road.