Islanders told to get cyclone plan
MAGNETIC Island residents will need to fend for themselves in an event of a local disaster such as a cyclone.
The Townsville and Thuringowa local disaster management group have urged Maggie residents to ‘seek friends in higher places’, in the event of a cyclone.
The island does not have any cyclone shelters and, because of its exposure to the sea, would be at a greater risk if a cyclone produced a storm tide.
Magnetic Island Community Development Association president Lorna Hempstead said it was a ‘pity’ no disaster management plan existed for island residents.
‘‘I think it’s a pity they are not articulated well in advance in order for people to know what happens in any one of half-a-dozen scenarios,’’ Ms Hempstead said.
Townsville Mayor and Townsville Thuringowa Local Disaster Management Group chairman Tony Mooney said island residents should make sure they have a plan.
‘‘If you’re in a low-lying area and you can’t evacuate to the mainland, you really need to seek safety with friends and family on higher ground,’’ Cr Mooney said.
Ms Hempstead said the disaster management group should ‘assist’ island residents in making a suitable plan.
‘‘What I understand is that residents in flood-prone — not storm-surge — areas have had letters sent to them individually (informing them) that they are in a flood-prone area,’’ she said.
‘‘Now that’s terrific. But it doesn’t really warn people what the predictions are for storm surge. Nor does it say to, for example, beach-front people, ‘ in this scenario you need to do this, in another scenario you need to do that’ . . . but to some extent we must be ready to fend for ourselves.’’
The disaster management group did offer some advice to residents.
‘‘Don’t leave it to the last minute,’’ Cr Mooney said.
‘‘Not preparing for cyclones is a real recipe for disaster.’’
Cr Mooney said residents living within three blocks of the waterfront may be vulnerable in the event of a storm tide.
‘‘Until a cyclone actually approached the coast, it’s difficult to know how high a tidal surge could be,’’ Cr Mooney said.
‘‘What we do know, however, is that it’s likely to move very quickly because of the sheer force and intensity of the wind associated with cyclones and that’s why people really need to think ahead before it’s too late.’’
Cr Mooney said each home should have a disaster plan in place and should also prepare an emergency survival kit.
The kit should include such supplies as water in plastic containers, non-perishable food items, a first-aid kit, batteries, candles, clothing and bedding.
Cr Mooney said pet food and medication should also be included.
‘‘We saw the devastating effect that Cyclone Larry had on Innisfail and surrounding communities,’’ he said. ‘‘Those images are still very raw and stand as a stark reminder of the havoc a cyclone can wreak and why we can’t afford to be complacent at any point.’’