The city of Brisbane prepares for evacuation

The flooding in north-eastern Australia is getting worse. On Wednesday, Volvo’s factory in Brisbane will shut down. Wednesday is also the day some employees have to evacuate their homes.

The severe flooding in the state of Queensland in north-eastern Australia is getting steadily worse. On Monday, the city of Toowoomba west of Brisbane was hit by a two metre high wall of floodwater carrying huge amounts of sticky clay, and in Brisbane people have started building sandbag levees. The flooding in Australia is the worst in 50 years and now covers an area as large as Germany and France combined.

“The situation in Brisbane is critical, although our factory is not currently at risk of flooding,” says Mona Edström Frohm, factory manager of Volvo Truck Production Australia.
However, the general situation is nonetheless so serious that certain measures have been adopted at the Volvo factory.

“Trucks that are ready for delivery have been moved to higher ground, and sensitive materials such as chemicals and IT equipment have been moved as high up in the various buildings as possible,” she relates.

Production is not affected at present since the factory is still closed following the Christmas vacation. Instead, maintenance work is being undertaken at the factory, with employees checking equipment, premises and machines.

“However, owing to the uncertain situation we are keeping the factory totally closed on Wednesday. We have a crisis group that meets regularly every day, taking decisions as and when the situation changes. According to the information we’ve received, the coming three days will be the most critical,” says Mona Edström Frohm.

Many people who work in the factory live in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, where some evacuation is currently under way.

“The roads between Brisbane and Ipswich are very insecure and we don’t want our employees to risk getting into any difficulties. What is more, some of them have been told they have to evacuate their homes, so they simply have to be with their families at this time.”

On Tuesday, the Volvo Penta Oceania office in Brisbane closed at 2.30pm and will remain closed tomorrow as well. This as a precaution and safety for the staff.

Volvo Truck Production Australia has about 470 employees and apart from Volvo Trucks and Mack Trucks there are employees at Volvo Financial Services, Volvo 3P, Volvo Logistics, Volvo Parts, Volvo IT and Volvo Group Australia.