Police have issued a stark warning to sightseers attending flood-affected areas in NSW -- floodwaters are not tourist attractions for people wanting a disaster selfie.
NSW Police said on Thursday they had received reports of people heading to flooded locations near Tumbulgum, Murwillumbah and Chinderah in north-eastern NSW with the purpose of obtaining a quick photo of themselves with damaged properties.
Police issue warning to disaster touristshttps://t.co/pTxDWGcl5F— NSW Police (@nswpolice) April 6, 2017
Tweed/Byron Local Area Commander, Superintendant Wayne Starling said: "It is neither appropriate nor respectful to attend these areas for the sole purpose of sightseeing.
"Moreover, it may be dangerous given the condition of the roads in and around the area as well as the general condition of the area as the recovery process moves forward.
"As the weekend approaches, unless you are entering flood affected areas to provide community support, which is greatly appreciated by those affected, police ask that you consider the circumstances of our community members and not enter the disaster area.
"Police are actively patrolling flood affected areas and you will be turned away if you are attending as a disaster tourist; not only for your own safety but also so that the community can focus on the recovery effort."
Are you a dirtbag taking a selfie or two among the flood damage? NSW Police are asking you to have some respect. pic.twitter.com/IWDnrCsVCB— Karen Barlow (@KJBar) April 6, 2017
The warning comes as parts of Queensland and NSW clean up in the wake of Cyclone Debbie and residents of Rockhampton braced themselves while the Fitzroy River broke its banks at 8.75 metres on Thursday morning.
The flooding there left 375 homes without power and 217 homes with water over their floorboards. Authorities are expecting over 2,000 homes and 1,000 businesses to be affected by the floodwaters.
Despite the rising water, residents of Rockhampton told The Huffington Post Australia many were remaining in "high spirits", saying they have seen floods before and know what they need to do to prepare.
ALSO ON HUFFPOST AUSTRALIA