HOMES THAT LOST ROOFS NOW BEING SCHEDULED FOR DEMOLITION
TARPS AND CHAINSAWS IN SHORT SUPPLY
Photo by Jamie Hanson/The Sunday Mail. Go here for his photo essay of the Cyclone Larry aftermath.
From ABC News : "The head of the cyclone reconstruction team in far north Queensland, General Peter Cosgrove, says he is concerned about the risk of asbestos in affected areas.
The Workplace Health and Safety Department has issued warnings about handling asbestos, which is a material that is found in almost all Innisfail homes.
It is asking residents to wear gloves and face masks when cleaning up the material, which can cause lung cancer.According to a story in the Townsville Bulletin yesterday, 984 Innisfail homes were waiting for a tarpulin to go over their damaged roofs to keep out the ongoing rain. All these houses were listed as 'high priority' by the State Emergency Service, and only those homes with at least part of the roof still intact were on the allocation list. To get allocated a tarp, you had to line up in the town centre to register.
If your house had completely lost its roof, you were not allocated a tarp. Although hundreds of Australian soldiers are now on the ground, as of yesterday, there was a crew of only 80 SES workers struggling to keep up with the massive workload. Tarps are in short supply, as are other essential pieces of wreckage-clearing equipment, like the chainsaws needed to clear trees from roads and yards.
Homes with no roofs are expected to be demolished in the coming months.
The number of homes already scheduled for demolition by insurance companies has reached into the hundreds, but fears of asbestos poisoning may delay many of these demolitions until late into the year. Nearly all Innisfail homes are believed to have some level of asbestos inside their roofs. Little has been said, as yet, about how much asbestos has been distributed through the local area when roofs were torn from homes and thrown dozens of metres.
Meanwhile, close to one thousand Innisfail residents are now homeless and are facing enormous challenges finding somewhere to live outside of the shelters and emergency accomodation.