Tearful mum shows PM through flooded home
PRIME Minister Scott Morrison has touched down in Townsville to survey the flooded city and meet with devastated locals. It comes as two men remain unaccounted for, with fears they may have been swept into a drain, ahead of more heavy rainfalls.
Australian Defence Force members were escorting Mr Morrison around some of city's hardest hit streets in Idalia and Oonoonba.
Many residents are returning to their homes for the first time this morning since waters receded overnight. Idalia mum Samantha Doyle struggled to hold back the tears as she and her daughter, Zara Aurisch, 3, gave Mr Morrison a tour of their house, which was flooded to about a foot high inside.
"Everything's ruined," Ms Doyle said. "There were even rodent footprints on the mud through the floors when we first walked in this morning." Ms Doyle said she evacuated early on Friday and has stayed with a friend for the duration of the flood. Mr Morrison comforted the young family before continuing along the streets meeting with other locals.
Earlier: AUTHORITIES are desperately searching for two men missing in Townsville's flood. It comes as a new emergency alert has been issued ahead of more expected downpours.
The two men were feared washed away by floodwaters after running away from the scene of an alleged looting in Townsville. A search for the pair was continuing last night with grave fears held for their safety.
The missing men have been identified as 23-year-old Troy Mathieson and 21-year-old Hughie Morton.
They were last seen on Ross River Rd early Monday morning near floodwaters. It's feared the pair may have been swept into a drain.
It's understood the men were attempting to access a Dan Murphy's in the flood zone.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have information regarding the two men to contact police.
It comes as Townsville was hit by more heavy rain overnight.
An emergency flood alert was issued about 12.30am for Bluewater, Bluewater Park, Toolakea and Saunders Beach, with residents urged to move to higher ground as properties in these aras now at risk of flash flooding.
The disaster bill, already estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars, could rise further as authorities forecast the flood risk was far from over.
More than 3200 locals have already applied for disaster relief with many homes underwater and unlivable.
Forecasters predict up to 268mm more rainfall to come on top of the record-breaking 1134mm in the North Queensland city.
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.
Families had to be rescued from rooftops yesterday as more than 20 suburbs were engulfed by water when the floodgates at Ross River Dam, at 250 per cent capacity, were opened sending a wall of water into the heart of the city.
State Disaster Co-ordination Bob Gee said: "It was a judgment call".
"We've got limited resources, we've got to work with the community,'' Police Assistant Commissioner Gee said.
"If those officers had have needed those powers they would be fully supported by myself, all the way down through the command team."
The missing men have been identified as 25-year-old Troy Mathieson and 20-year-old Hughie Morton.
Police fear the pair may have been swept into a drain.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the efforts of disaster crews battling to respond to the "extraordinary" extreme weather event.
"Lots of families are going to be going through a rough time, it's very stressful," she said.'
She said the total damage bill was likely to cost "hundreds of millions of dollars because of the scale of it" in a long recovery.
"It's a big task ahead of us.''
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said no-one could say they had not been warned about the threat of widespread flooding under the one-in-100-year event.
"Fundamentally what do you have to do to make people leave?", she said.
"What do you have to say to them, how many times do you have to give them warnings."
Two police officers rescued two people on Charters Towers Road before they themselves were swept away - one clinging to a power pole - before they could be rescued leaving a police car destroyed.
In another dramatic incident, Army soldiers and a rescued family also had to abandon a military vehicle to the floodwaters before they could be plucked to safety.
Cr Hill said some people thought they could get through the flooding and stay at homes despite the advice.
"Some people thought for example they'd be able to sit on their two storey home and sit in their second storey and survive and that hasn't been the case," she said yesterday.
Sam Bidey, Clare Armstrong