HUNDREDS OF HOMES LAID TO WASTE
RESIDENTS FORCED TO DRINK POOL WATER WHEN SUPPLIES RUN LOW
NO DEATHS REPORTED
The main street of Innisfail yesterday morning. Photo : Eddie Sarafik, sourced from The Australian.
INNISFAIL WITHOUT ELECTRICITY, RUNNING WATER, DISEASE OUTBREAKS FEARED
All the residents of the North Queensland town of Innisfail have survived what is now being called the biggest cyclone to hit Australia in a century.
Emergency crews, military and volunteers are flooding into the town from all over Queensland.
Bottled water, canned food and emergency ration packs are being distributed, but the door knocking of devastated homes is ongoing.
Many residents have left the town after they emerged from makeshift shelters to find their homes unliveable., but thousands have chosen to stay on, some living in tent cities still being erected late last night, others have set up camp in their cars, trucks and vans.
Electricity generators have been brought into the town by Australian Army, but fuel supplies are low.
Residents are being advised to boil all drinking water, and have been told they can drink water from their swimming pools, if supplies run low, but only after long boiling.
As of midnight, there remains no electricity, no running water and no working sewerage in the town smashed hardest by the Category Five cylone early yesterday morning.
North Queensland is tropical, and there are now serious fears of mass outbreaks of water-borne viruses and diseases like hepatitis and dengue fever. Rain continued to drench houses stripped clean of their roofs throughout yesterday, and massive pools of stangant water have formed, breeding grounds for mosquitos that carry a host of tropical viruses.
The storm-damaged Innsifail Hospital has closed and all the injured have been transported to hospitals with electricity and running water.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie visited Innisfail and was clearly shocked by the extent of the damage to homes and buildings and trees.
"The whole bloody place is blown apart ... this is going to be a long, slow recovery," he said.