An­other cruel blow for Yasi’s many vic­tims

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North -

THE curse of Mother Na­ture has rocked the spirit of North Queens­lan­ders like never be­fore and for the peo­ple of Ing­ham, Card­well, Mis­sion Beach and Tully it’s be­come one of the most chal­leng­ing times of their lives. Not only have they had to con­tend with a Cat­e­gory 5 cy­clone but tor­ren­tial rain has now turned their town­ships into flood-rav­aged com­mu­ni­ties and there is lit­tle sign of the weather clear­ing. In the cru­ellest of blows, it means the im­pend­ing Royal visit of Prince Wil­liam is un­der a cloud, a mas­sive blow to those poor souls do­ing it tough. If ever they needed en­cour­age­ment and hope from a Royal visit, it is now. Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral Quentin Bryce has been forced to can­cel her trip to these town­ships this week­end as heavy rain is ex­pected to con­tinue to pound the re­gion un­til at least Sun­day. Schools have closed in Ing­ham, Hal­i­fax and Kennedy, north of Card­well and in Mis­sion Beach. Busi­nesses have closed and staff have been sent home. Premier Anna Bligh made it clear yes­ter­day that Prince Wil­liam, due in North Queens­land in 10 days, would only go to ar­eas that are safe. Ex­tra SES teams are ar­riv­ing in Ing­ham and Card­well to­day while a South Aus­tralian team of 18 has been flown into Mis­sion Beach to help res­i­dents. Late last night, dozens of homes had been flooded in Ing­ham and Card­well as well as nearby Kennedy and Eller­beck. Some of these peo­ple have been liv­ing un­der tarps since Cy­clone Yasi a month ago and they are now leak­ing from the wind and rain. Parts of Ing­ham, Card­well, Mis­sion Beach, Tully Heads and Hull Heads re­main iso­lated, with 60cm of wa­ter on roads in some places. The Bruce High­way has been cut north of Ing­ham. It’s a heart­break­ing sce­nario for tens of thou­sands of peo­ple and po­lice have asked mo­torists to re­think travel plans and limit non-es­sen­tial travel. For civic and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, the mes­sage from this bizarre sum­mer of weather is ob­vi­ous. Our peo­ple need your help, not just fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance, like never be­fore. The psy­cho­log­i­cal im­pact of this sum­mer of tor­ment will en­dure. Enough is enough. Po­lit­i­cal de­ci­sion-mak­ers also need a bind­ing and rolled-gold com­mit­ment to proper flood-proof­ing of the Bruce High­way. The dis­lo­ca­tion to trans­port and travel in this re­gion is in­cal­cu­la­ble, with the high­way in its cur­rent state of dis­re­pair. Some­body needs to put their hand up on a proper up­grade of the main ar­te­rial route be­tween Rock­hamp­ton and Cairns. The last thing we need is a sce­nario in 40 years where these same trans­port is­sues around poor flood pro­tec­tion are still be­ing en­coun­tered.

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