Premier launches Queensland floods appeal
THE Premier has announced a $200,000 commitment to helping North Queensland residents rebuild their lives after losing everything in unprecedented flash floods.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today launched the Queensland Floods Appeal, calling for people around the state to donate to The Australian Red Cross Society, UnitingCare, Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland and GIVIT.
"Now is the time to dig deep and lend a helping hand to your fellow Queenslander," she said.
"In the days and weeks ahead, I ask all Queenslanders to put yourselves in the shoes of North Queenslanders who will be dealing with this heartbreaking situation for a long time to come.
"While the flood waters recede, people are returning to their homes and the true extent of the damage is realised.
"First the flood, then the tears. North Queenslanders needs us now more than ever.
"We can rebuild these homes, but the emotional toll is going to take a long time to get over."
The Premier said more than 300 people are still in Townsville's evacuation centres, 9000 people are still without power, 369 damage assessments have been completed, and more than 13,000 applications had been made for disaster relief assistance with $1.2 million paid out already.
"We have got 250 staff working on this, but we need more staff," she said.
"There will be a second recovery hub opened today."
Premier Palaszczuk said a number of townships and communities around the state's North remained isolated, including Giru, Charters Towers, Halifax, Richmond, Hughenden and Julia Creek.
"We are doing everything we possibly can to get food supplies to you and make sure we are listening to your concerns," she said.
"The good news is we do expect there will be some easing of this monsoonal trough by Friday and into the weekend."
Deputy Police Comissioner Bob Gee said there was at least one more night to go of severe weather, and that it was important to remain vigilant even while water levels receded.
"We know you're moving back to your houses, we will be there to support you, but if the roads say they are closed, they are closed," he said.
Deputy Comissioner Gee said 140 extra police were tasked to the Townsville region to help keep the community safe, and police would continue to do as much as possible to help people.
"We've only had four reports of attempted break and enter or break and enter," he said.
While the Bruce Highway is currently cut north of Ingham, Deputy Comissioner Gee said resupply routes were moving through the region under police escort.
Queensland Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young commended Townsville residents on following the advice of health professionals as the clean-up begins.
"People shouldn't be going back into their homes until they're told it's safe," she said.
Ms Young said people should be extremely careful while operating generators to ensure they don't overheat and urged residents to have a qualified electrician check over their appliances.
She also confirmed the Townsville Hospital was fully operational, and that people needed to take their health and safety seriously while dealing with germs while cleaning.
"The floodwaters and the mud that will unfortunately be left behind is very dirty. People need to be very careful dealing with it," she said.
Ms Young urged people to wear boots and gloves while cleaning, cover up any cuts and check their tetanus shots were up to date.
She also recommended people throw out all food that has come into contact with floodwaters, as well as any food that was in the fridge if the power was off for more than four hours.
Food in the freezer may last longer if the freezer remained closed.
"We don't want people getting gastroenteritis on top of everything else they've been through," she said.
visit www.qld.gov.au/emergency/emergencies-services/help-disaster for more information on the flood appeal.