Hundreds of houses damaged and many more without power after storm

February 21, 2015 4:14 pm

The big rebuild has begun in central with the army joining
efforts in the mop-up of the war-zone-like destruction left by Cyclone
Marcia.
Stunned Yeppoon, Rockhampton and residents were
left to tidy up the mess yesterday as Marcia unleashed its fury before
turning into a tropical low which swamped southern Queensland.
Almost
550 houses were damaged and 60,000 properties left without power on the
Capricorn Coast region, with the worst in Yeppoon, which copped the
brunt of the category five blow.

Locals brave the James Low Bridge over the flooded South Maroochy River. Photo / Sunshine Coase Daily
It’s expected to take several
weeks for buildings to be repaired and rebuilt and also several days
before hundreds of Ergon and Energex workers can switch power back on in
central Queensland.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited both
Rockhampton and Yeppoon yesterday afternoon to assess the damage and
meet the mayors of both towns and local disaster management teams.
“What
we are seeing here is complete and utter devastation,” she said. “Both
mayors are telling me is that they fundamentally need more help.

We now need the army to come in and assist.
“These
are resilient people. They have been through the worst of the worst. But
now, we are by their side and we will rebuild these communities.”
As
well as thousands of State Emergency Service volunteers, the Australian
Defence Force is deploying up to 350 soldiers from Townsville with
another 350 on standby from the ADF’s Brisbane base.
Rockhampton
disaster management committee chairman Tony Williams said it was far too
early to know the extent of the damage bill.
“It’s going to be massive – at this stage it’s hard to put a figure on it,” he said.
Flooding in Bileola and Gympie, plus 56 schools, is on the damage list.
While
there were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, there had been
grave fears for three teenage boys who were reported missing after
playing near Sunshine Coast floodwaters.
After almost three hours
of frantic searching, the youths were found near the area they’d been
last seen clinging to a tree in a rising Beerwah creek.
Police
immediately put out a stern public warning saying “it would seem that
the simplest of messages are often the hardest to receive”.
“Flooded
creeks and rivers, fast-flowing waterways and watercourses and churned
up oceans are dangerous places to play,” police said.
Residents
in the small towns of Jambin and Goovigen also received a scare when
Callide Creek broke its banks after automatic controls opened the
Callide Dam gates late on Friday night.
More than 20 residents were evacuated from the local school in the middle of the night by helicopter.
Freakish
waterspouts also delivered minor damage on the Sunshine Coast and
Marcia also produced thumping surf for board riders on the southern Gold
Coast.
But there was much relief that flooding in southeast Queensland was far less than expected.

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