AUTHORITIES are reluctant to allow flood-hit north Bundaberg residents back into their homes until houses are safe.An exclusion zone continues around what is considered the worst-hit area in Queensland's latest flood disaster.
Superintendent Rowan Bond says he understands how frustrated residents must be but the area needs to be made safe first.
He said about 20 homes have either washed away, been lifted off their stilts or cut in half.
"There may well be people who may have drowned or otherwise they're deceased," he told reporters in Bundaberg yesterday.
"It's just terrible if we allowed people to go in there and be confronted with scenes like that."
More than 130 people were still roughing it at Bundaberg's main evacuation centre at the council chambers yesterday but thousands more were still displaced by the floods.
As waters began to recede, residents in the city's south began the unenviable task of cleaning up.
Ken's Plumbing Plus general manager Steve Kingston was one of hundreds in the city's south yesterday cleaning putrid mud off of businesses and homes.
He said while it was frustrating that a lot of people were just sightseeing, many more were lending a hand where they could.
"It's just amazing to see the community support in times like this," he said.
It's something Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Premier Campbell Newman were quick to mention while touring some of the city's hardest hit sites and speaking with some of its most devastated residents.
One of those was Bundaberg East State School Principal Doug Ambrose, whose entire school was coated in thick, foul smelling mud.
Last month, the school community was dealing with the tragic death of nine-year-old Karrisa McDonald.
She died after being hit in the head by a pool umbrella at a school break-up party.
As Ms Gillard comforted the clearly emotional principal, an army of volunteers were cleaning up the school.
"It's a great tribute to the local people," the prime minister said about the city's community spirit.
Ms Gillard's whirlwind tour, just a day after announcing the September 14 election, took her briefly to north Bundaberg, Burnett Heads and Bargara, where she saw soldiers cleaning up the bowls club, which was destroyed by last week's tornado.
Across the road, 87-year-old Thelma Jensen was still nursing wounds she received from the ordeal, when glass windows smashed all over her and half of the bowls' club roof ended up in her front yard.
But like most people in Bundaberg, she was just happy the community was helping her.
"I'll never say a bad word about young people again," she said.
"There was so many of them over here cleaning up and they just wouldn't stop for a break. I'm just so grateful."
Bundaberg Regional Council is now organising clean-ups and will on Friday be encouraging volunteers to help at a local shopping centre.
But as floodwaters subside and the clean-up begins, Bundaberg is dealing with fresh problems.
Residents still in the north have to boil their own water and the city's gas supply has been cut after it was damaged by floodwaters.