Military called out to help in Queensland flooding
05 February, 2019, 10:20 | Author: Taylor George
Disaster officials yesterday defended their decision not to forcibly move stranded residents - with 1,100 people assisted to relocate at the height of catastrophic flooding - despite special powers granted to police under a disaster declaration.
More than 1000 calls for help were logged by the State Emergency Service and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services in the past 24 hours, majority in Townsville.
"We know from research conducted this month that many people still think it is ok to drive or play in floodwater", Mel Taylor from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC said in a statement to Scimex.
Up to 20,000 homes are at risk of being inundated if the rains continue.
Thousands of people remain unable to return to their homes, with the State Emergency Service receiving nearly 1,200 calls for help in the 48 hours up to Tuesday morning.
The authorities were forced to open floodgates at a dam near the city of Townsville late on Sunday, unleashing a torrent that threatened to swamp thousands of homes - many already affected after days of heavy rain.
The floods follow weeks of unrelenting heat across Australia, which caused mass animal die-offs, raging bush fires, and prolonged and severe drought.
Disaster assistance has been extended for communities in Townsville, Charters Towers, Palm Island, Richmond and Burdekin, the Queensland government announced on Saturday night.
"But in the next day it's the shock as people come back into their homes and that's when they're going to need emotional support from friends and family and their community".
"I just couldn't believe what I saw. there were just wades of water coming through the shed and [patio]".
The premier said about 200 callers were still waiting for help on Monday morning.
"It was just bucketing down last night. and the wind gusts were huge". We don't want to get to that stage [but] we can't control that, ' Munro said.
"It's really quiet here at the moment because everyone is just that exhausted because everyone's been cleaning for the last few days trying to pick up the pieces".
What's the weather like in Australia now? "It's very hard for us to predict what is going to happen over the next 24 hours so I would say to the community of Townsville, please stay strong", Hill said. "You can't say you weren't warned that something could happen", she said.
He understood the decision but said it was demoralising to see the destruction at his Hermit Park park home.
Evacuation centres around the city of Townsville said they were filling up on February 4.
Townsville has received more than a metre of rain in just a week, which is more than 20 times the average for the time of year - beating the previous record set in 1998, in what became known as the Night of Noah.
The army has been helping to protect homes with sandbags, while rescue teams have been evacuating people using rafts.
According to CNN affiliate 9 News, supermarket shelves across the region are almost empty, with chains struggling to restock after Townsville Airport was closed and many major roads cut.
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