HOW DID TROP­I­CAL CY­CLONE MAR­CIA AF­FECT OUR FARM­ERS?

Res­i­dents count costs af­ter they­were iso­lated for days

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

RU­RAL WEEKLY LIFTOUT IN­SIDE

A HEAVY sigh of re­lief swept across the Good­night Scrub and Mor­ganville com­mu­ni­ties af­ter ac­cess was re­stored on Tues­day.

Hun­dreds of res­i­dents were forced to fend for them­selves af­ter be­ing iso­lated by flood­wa­ter for sev­eral days.

Mor­ganville and Good­night Scrub were iso­lated last Fri­day due to ris­ing rivers caused by ex-Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Mar­cia.

Most prop­er­ties have since lost power, while food and other re­sources are slowly di­min­ished.

The Mingo Rd cross­ing had wa­ter more than 2m above the bridge at the Perry River, while the cause­way near Booyal was un­der sev­eral me­tres of wa­ter.

Res­i­dents re­joiced on Tues­day morn­ing when wa­ter dropped be­low the bridge at Perry River, but it may take an­other few days for the Booyal cause­way to re­open. The State Gov­ern­ment ac­ti­vated Nat­u­ral Dis­as­ter Re­lief and Re­cov­ery Ar­range­ments (NDRRA) and Dis­as­ter Re­cov­ery Pay­ments (DRP) on Sun­day, but res­i­dents like Tara Thomp­son are not yet el­i­gi­ble.

De­tails about the pay­ments, which are avail­able on­line, said the DRP was avail­able for “peo­ple who have been se­ri­ously in­jured, who have lost their homes or whose homes have been di­rectly dam­aged by Trop­i­cal Cy­clone Mar­cia or the im­me­di­ate fam­ily mem­bers of a per­son who has been killed”.

Self-em­ployed Mrs Thomp­son has so far missed four days of work, and with no fore­see­able end, could be well out of pocket. “A lot of us can’t work due to be­ing stuck in,” she said.

The com­mu­ni­ties were last iso­lated dur­ing the ma­jor 2013 flood, and on that oc­ca­sion it took five weeks for the wa­ter to sub­side. Mrs Thomp­son said all res­i­dents re­ceived dis­as­ter pay­ments on that oc­ca­sion, but Bund­aberg has not yet been de­clared.

Frus­trated NewsMail Face­book friend He­len Day­man said Good­night Scrub and Mor­ganville had been iso­lated by floods ev­ery two years since 2008, “like clock­work”.

“What are their plans to recog­nise com­mu­ni­ties iso­lated and af­fected by flood­ing in Good­night Scrub and other ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties?” she asked.

How­ever, she said the com­mu­ni­ties had been bet­ter pre­pared this time.

In the af­ter­math to that flood, Bund­aberg Re­gional Coun­cil widely con­sulted the public about the estab­lish­ment of al­ter­na­tive evac­u­a­tion routes.

A fact sheet on the BRC web­site said im­proved routes for the 400-600 res­i­dents would re­duce strain on emer­gency and re­cov­ery ser­vices, im­prove public safety and re­sup­ply routes. Mayor Mal For­man said rais­ing the Perry River Bridge was con­sid­ered as part of the Bur­nett River Flood­plain Ac­tion Plan.

A new bridge eight me­tres higher than the ex­ist­ing cross­ing was ex­am­ined by the tech­ni­cal work­ing group but at $17.3 mil­lion was un­af­ford­able at this stage.

Cr For­man said one yet-to-be-funded pro­posal was an evac­u­a­tion route for the Good­night Scrub area.

“An al­ter­na­tive cor­ri­dor to the Gayn­dah-Mt Perry Rd does ex­ist, but re­quires road up­grades to bring it to an all-weather stan­dard,” Cr For­man said.

“Coun­cil has suc­cess­fully ne­go­ti­ated with the State Gov­ern­ment to cap­ture air­borne laser scan­ning of ground lev­els in this area.”

Cr For­man said the coun­cil was look­ing to in­stall a flood gauge at the Perry River Bridge, but fur­ther de­tails, in­clud­ing a tar­get date, were yet to be de­cided.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

Iso­lated res­i­dents check the level of the Bur­nett River at the Booyal Cause­way.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

ISO­LATED: The flooded Perry River on Satur­day (above) and af­ter the wa­ter sub­sided early Tues­day morn­ing. The river iso­lated Mor­ganville and Good­night Scrub for days.

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