Cyclone Marcia response turns to recovery phase

February 22, 2015

Ron Goodman

Australian Defence Force personnel help clean-up in Yeppoon after Cyclone Marcia.

Australian Defence Force personnel help clean-up in Yeppoon after Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Nine News

With Cyclone Marcia a memory and floodwaters of her aftermath receding, Queenslanders have turned to the hard grind of recovery and clean-up.

Tens of thousands of properties were still waiting for electricity supplies to be restored, including 37,000 in the Rockhampton region, while authorities issued regular warnings for people to stay away from floodwaters.

Yeppoon resident Demelza Bischoff walks onto the roofless veranda of her home on Saturday, after it was damaged during Cyclone Marcia.

Cyclone Marcia

Hitting the North Queensland coast near Yeppoon as a category five cyclone early on Friday morning, Cyclone Marcia left a trail of destruction and dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain as far away as Brisbane in the state’s south east. Photo: Reuters

In Gympie floodwaters peaked at 16.6m early Sunday afternoon. Mayor Mick Curran said the town’s flood planning had worked well but cautioned locals about ongoing dangers after reports of people using jetskis and kayaks in floodwaters.

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson praised coast residents for their common sense in staying off the roads in the aftermath of the cyclone.

Meanwhile, the small Central Queensland community of Eidsvold is enjoying some calmer days during the clean-up, after experiencing an earthquake and a cyclone in the same week.

Flooding at Elphinstone Street, Rockhampton, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia.

Flooding at Elphinstone Street, Rockhampton, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia. Photo: Higgins Storm Chasing/Claire Mas

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited Rockhampton and Yeppoon this morning, announcing that 100 families that had been left without homes would be the state government’s first priority for assistance.

Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig said the recovery phase was in full swing in Rockhampton and Yeppoon, the communities where Marcia did most damage when she crossed the coast as a Category 5 cyclone.

Main arterial roads in the region have reopened. The main hospital has been running on generators but they were not enough to power the air-conditioning. The first power substation was back online on Sunday afternoon.

There were long queues for petrol, but supplies were “up and running”.

Cr Ludwig said Cyclone Marcia was a devastating event but the community was very resilient.

The extent of damage caused to homes was starting to become apparent today.

Cr Ludwig said 871 homes had been through structural assessments and up to 36 per cent had sustained either severe or moderate damage.

He said 51 of those residences were totally uninhabitable and some would have to be demolished.

Asbestos was an issue in older homes but the council was keeping it damp and consulting with experts.

“We’ve put in some hard yards,” said Cr Ludwig, who stressed it would potentially take several months for the region to fully recover.

Cr Ludwig said Cyclone Marcia had rewritten the history books by escalating from a Category 1 to a Category 5 in just a few hours.

It was a compact system that “hit hard and savagely”, according to Cr Ludwig, who said “the only thing that saved us from the … storm tide” was that the cyclone crossed to the north.

– with Danielle Cronin and Tony Moore

* If you have weather pics you would like to share, please email them to scoop@brisbanetimes.com.au, text them to 0414 284 637, or share them via Facebook.

 

Source : The Canberra Times

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