townsville counts the cost of floods

Townsville counts the cost of floods


The damage bill is rising in Townsville as the floodwaters fall and residents mop up in the wake of the deadly and unprecedented floods.

In parts of the north Queensland city, residents have been hosing down their mud-filled houses and throwing out flood-damaged belongings for days while some suburbs remain waterlogged.

The mood has been stoic but Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has warned that while they are a resilient people, the enormity of what they’d been through would soon hit.

The once-in-a-century big wet event caused flooding that killed two men, forced thousands of people to flee and is expected to have impacted up to 20,000 homes to some degree.

“To go back into your home and to have lost things and having to rebuild … is going to be very hard for many people to take on,” the premier said.

Elsewhere, much of the state’s north is still underwater, communities remain cut off and the army is helping with food drops for stranded cattle.

Palm Island residents were told by the local council to boil all drinking water until further notice after rain affected the island’s water treatment plant.

Back in Townsville, damage assessment has begun and the Insurance Council of Australia had more than 6500 claims worth $80 million on Wednesday.

To help with the clean up, reinforcements arrived in the form of 100 fresh police officers as well as nurses and power workers.

They will relieve their exhausted local colleagues, many of whom are anxious to attend their own flood-damaged homes.

They’ll also get the power back on.

On Wednesday night some 350 people remained in four evacuation centres and 8600 people had no power.

But schools and businesses have reopened, just days after people were being rescued from inundated homes and waterways.

The defence force and council workers are due to begin cleaning roads and removing debris from the worst-hit suburbs on Thursday.

The monsoonal trough is expected to bring further heavy rain and damaging winds between Cardwell and Sarina, south of Mackay, and inland on Thursday but is expected to move offshore by Friday.

Major flood warnings remain in place for the Herbert, Haughton, Upper Burdekin, Flinders, Cloncurry and Leichhardt rivers.