More pain for the North Team aids ru­ral re­cov­ery

Townsville Bulletin - - News -

WHILE Townsville deals with the ef­fects of the wet sea­son, tor­ren­tial rain has flooded homes and busi­nesses north in Card­well, where res­i­dents are still try­ing to clean up from Cy­clone Yasi.

The news is not much bet­ter for the rest of the North ei­ther, with fore­cast­ers pre­dict­ing more tor­ren­tial rain in com­ing days.

Premier Anna Bligh said her heart went out to the cy­clone vic­tims fac­ing the new flood threat as wa­ter rose to waist level in some ar­eas.

‘‘ Those peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly in Card­well, still reel­ing from Cy­clone Yasi, must be think­ing what on earth is next,’’ she said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ The thoughts of all Queens­lan­ders are with them.

‘‘ There are stark re­minders around Queens­land t oday that the wet sea­son is not over.

Anna Bligh

‘‘ The ( Bar­ron) river is ris­ing ex­tremely rapidly and we are con­cerned about cars be­ing washed off cause­ways.’’

Card­well Car­a­van Park owner Colin Oke says about a me­tre of wa­ter has flooded hi s p r o p e r t y , i nun­dati ng three guest cab­ins. QUEENS­LAND’S agri­cul­ture depart­ment will send a team to North Queens­land to help farm­ers and small busi­nesses clean up af­ter Cy­clone Yasi.

The con­tin­gent of 12 re­cov­ery sup­port of­fi­cers will also link strug­gling farm­ers and busi­ness peo­ple with fi­nan­cial coun­sel­lors, men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als and farm­ing ex­perts.

Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Tim Mul­herin said the of­fi­cers would be sent this week as part of a $ 1.7 mil­lion Op­er­a­tion Clean Up Queens­land pro­gram.

The of­fi­cers would help farm­ers de­cide the sort of as­sis­tance they needed and help them in

He said two of three neigh­bour­ing homes also had wa­ter above the floor­boards, and more would have gone un­der on the low-ly­ing end of Roma St, where his busi­ness is lo­cated.

Mr Oke said it was an­other cruel blow, on the back of the get­ting ap­pli­ca­tions in, the min­is­ter said.

The of­fi­cers will be em­ployed for nine months with $ 1.16 mil­lion in state funds and $ 555,000 from in­dus­try.

They will con­cen­trate on the Cas­sowary Coast, Hinch­in­brook and parts of the Table­lands, Char­ters Tow­ers, Etheridge and Flin­ders, Mr Mul­herin said.

‘‘ The of­fi­cers will work with lo­cal in­dus­try and busi­ness to as­sist in pri­ori­tis­ing de­bris clear­ing, and ( to) help land­hold­ers de­ter­mine their re­cov­ery needs,’’ he said.

Re­quests can be made by call­ing 13 25 23. ruin Yasi brought to the town, half­way be­tween Cairns and Townsville.

‘‘ Ev­ery­thing’s dam­aged. I’ve spent four weeks just re­mov­ing trees and branches and bits of ev­ery­one else’s roofs that landed in my yard. I’m about to call my in­surer again and tell them I’ve got an­other prob­lem,’’ he said yes­ter­day.

But he had not lost his sense of hu­mour, and an­swered the phone with a chirpy: ‘‘ Flood cen­tral’’.

‘‘ It’s ei­ther that or floods are us. We used to call our­selves Card­well by the sea, now we call it Card­well in the Mr Oke said.

He said he man­aged to move cars and vans t o higher ground af­ter an ex­tra­or­di­nary overnight del­uge, but there was noth­ing he could do t o s t o p w a t e r w a s h i n g through cab­ins and sheds.

‘‘ My rain gauge was empty last night and it over­flowed t hi s morn­ing. My g a uge mea­sures 12 inches so that’s 300mm that fell on my prop­erty overnight,’’ he said.

‘‘ The three houses next door to me, two are un­der. And I’m on the high end of the street. There’ll be houses at the other e nd wit h wa­ter r un­ning through them, guar­an­teed.’’

Mr Oke said the wa­ter rose to within a cou­ple of inches of the floor­boards of his home.

‘‘ It’s just missed it. It’s gone through the pa­tio area and through the wash­ing ma­chine. All the fun things.’’


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