Queensland floods: Authorities warn of health risks as cost counting begins

| 12.03,18. 08:56 AM |



Queensland floods: Authorities warn of health risks as cost counting begins





Photo: Flooding is slowly receding in Ingham, but 90 per cent of homes were affected. (Supplied: @AnnastaciaMP)




Photo: The town of Halifax, near Ingham, was also hit hard by the flooded Herbert River.


Health and safety risks are the greatest concern for authorities as they begin tallying the cost of flooding that has impacted at least a third of Queensland's local government areas.


About 90 per cent of homes have been impacted in the northern town of Ingham, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Sunday.


Flooding in the Herbert River also affected nearby towns such as Halifax, but the river level is falling slowly.


More than 70 school children and teachers evacuated from an isolated campsite south of Tully have returned home.


The Queensland Reconstruction Authority will conduct full assessments of council infrastructure and insurance assessors have already arrived on the ground to inspect public assets.


Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said he expected to see significant damage to roads and bridges as waters subsided.


"The damage [amount] is very, very, very difficult, but we're definitely looking in the millions — and lots thereof," Mr Crawford said.


He said most of the damage would be assessed once the floodwaters have receded.


"Bridges, culverts sewerage and water supplies, railway lines and the like —we want to make sure things are safe.


"Where we have been very, very lucky is we have not had the usual winds associated with normal storms that we get, so that has been a godsend."


Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have also conducted initial damage assessments.


Ms Palaszczuk toured the region on Sunday, noting the extent of the damage.


"I don't think the people in the south-east realise how much impact this flood has had on the region and the surrounding communities," she said.


State disaster coordinator Deputy Commissioner Bob Gee called the floods "a large-scale event".


"At my count, at least a third of the state local government areas have been impacted," he said.


As waters recede, he also urged people to take precautions for the sake of their health.


"Road safety and thinking about the water you are using, all those things are very important."


Mr Gee warned people not to be complacent, noting the Bureau of Meteorology predicted further rain over coming weeks.


"The event is not over yet," he said.


Grants and support funding available


Ms Palaszczuk said financial assistance and support services were made available to residents directly affected by the floods.


"Queensland Government Ready Reserve staff have been deployed to Townsville to lead community recovery efforts, with more expected to be deployed over the coming days," she said.


Damage assessments would be "a priority".


The Premier said hardship funding grants of $180 for individuals and $900 for families have been made available.


Minister for Communities Coralee O'Rourke urged people directly affected by the flooding to download the Self Recovery app for further information about grants.


Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo said Ingham residents were well prepared, which resulted in fewer emergency call-outs.


"I think that with modern technology, getting the information out is easy, we are better prepared and smarter," he said.


abc


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