EXPECTED TO BE BIGGEST DISASTER RELIEF OPERATION IN AUSTRALIAN HISTORY
The Australian Army has now deployed 400 troops into the disaster zones. They are helping to distribute more than 50,000 meals to North Queenslanders hit hard by the destruction of Cyclone Larry. Some of the same troops who swung into emergency relief mode in Banda Aceh after the December, 2004, tsunami are now on the ground and at work.
The full extent of damage and destruction in North Queesland is still not known, as the cyclone continued on through vast regions of the isolated far north of the state in the six hours following its central front of destruction in Innisfail. This could turn out to be the largest relief effort in Australia's history.
Emergency beds have been provided by the Army for more than 500 homeless residents of Innisfail and surrounding towns, along with portable showers and toilets.
The same water purification technology used in Banda Aceh has now been deployed to the region.
Queensland police, the Red Cross and the State Emergency Service have also deployed hundreds of workers and volunteers.
Electricity supplies remain out for many towns, with supplies expected to be restored to most residents within 48 hours. For Innisfail residents, the wait might be a week long or more. More than 45,000 businesses and homes were still without power as of midnight. In some areas the entire electricity supply network will need to be rebuilt.
Cuts to electricity have also meant cuts to the supply of fresh water through pipelines. More than 7000 litres of fresh water have been trucked in, with residents again being reminded to boil any water they collect themselves from rain catchers and backyard swimming pools.(Information culled from the Australian Newspapers, the Courier Mail and ABC Radio)