The flood tragedy

With tragedy comes the stories of heroes and victims and as rescuers continue to search for missing people in flood zones other Queenslanders are focussing on the clean-up effort.

Rescuers have engaged in the gruesome hunt for bodies with dozens of people are unaccounted for.

The official death toll stands at 15 with officials holding grave concerns for 12 people.

One of those feared dead was James Perry, who was pictured on top of his floating car with his wife and son in one of the disaster's defining images.

Perry's wife and son were rescued, but when the helicopter returned there was no sign of the racing steward or his white four-wheel drive.

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In Toowoomba, it emerged that schoolboy Jordan Rice, 13, who was scared of water and could not swim, told bystanders to save his 10-year-old brother, Blake, as fast-running waters engulfed the family car.

Seconds later Jordan and his mother, Donna, were sucked to their deaths.

Nearby in Grantham, among the worst-hit towns, some 30 cars lay crumpled beneath a bridge after being swept away by the waters, described as an "inland tsunami", though a search of the cars did not turn up any more bodies.

Earlier reports described how a couple hoisted their two children into a ceiling cavity in their flooded home before the waters dragged them away, while a "miracle" baby was also born during the disaster.

Premier Anna Bligh has pleaded with Queenslanders to be patient as they get back on their feet after the devastating floods, but says she's prepared to absorb their anger as they grieve.

The premier also says it is still only the beginning of the wet season and more massive downpours are likely with the weather bureau advising that five cyclones could be on their way over the next few months.

"We could still be in for some very big rainfalls, so we need to make sure that (Wivenhoe) dam's flood capacity continues to be there, so that if we see any more weather like we saw earlier this week, it has somewhere to go," she said.

She urged Queenslanders to exercise patience over the next months - perhaps longer.

"We all need to be very patient, which is part of getting people back on their feet, but I do understand. Inevitably, we will see a lot of pain and grief," she said.

"That is often manifested in anger and frustration, but I'm ready to absorb some of that, which is part of my role."

She said the recovery process would be long and potentially overwhelming, but it would be done.

"When you have to eat an elephant, one chunk at a time. We're very much in the middle of this incident," she said.

She said the needs of those people worst affected will be addressed first.

In pictures: Queensland flood disaster

The army meantime is taking food and supplies out to cut off suburbs including Moggill and Bellbowrie.

While other parts of southern Queensland begin the floods clean-up, the main areas of concern are now the border town of Goondiwindi and Bundaberg.

North of Brisbane, the city of Bundaberg had its second flood in 10 days, although the Thursday night 5.76-metre peak was three metres lower than the last one.

Energex said it had restored power to 170,000 homes and businesses across southeast Queensland since the flood crisis peaked on Monday.

The energy provider said that it was now working to get electricity back to another 66,000 properties.

The Queensland government has announced free public transport until January 22 to help with the flood recovery effort and to keep as many cars off the road as possible.

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