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Monday, July 15, 2024

Calls for assistance fall on deaf ears

DOUGLAS Shire Council’s desperate pleas to the State and Federal Governments for military assistance following the devastating impacts of ex-tropical cyclone Jasper have fallen on deaf ears as several communities remain isolated without power and running water.

Cape Tribulation continues to remain blocked by landslides from the south and north with council’s recent attempt to get suitable equipment into the region failing due to the shallow coastline, exacerbated by the sand movements from the excessive 3-metre-plus rainfall event.

Council staff are currently undertaking drone reconnaissance at high and low tides, to ascertain any opportunities where a suitable track may be made.

Mayor Michael Kerr said council is doing everything within their capabilities to solve these logistical problems.

“We made a commitment to throw everything at it and if we can get the machinery needed into Cape Tribulation, we can do the work and get the road open but we are unable to do this on our own,” he said.

“We need State and Federal Government assistance for our residents who have now been isolated without power or running water for weeks.”

A second economic blow is looking more likely as an icon of Queensland’s tourism, the Daintree Rainforest, is still shut to tourism and other businesses are still closed with no financial assistance on offer to dilute the losses they are occurring.

“This is not just hurting Douglas, hundreds of tourists from Cairns use tour companies daily to see the Daintree rainforest,” Cr Kerr said.

With Cape Tribulation and Degarra still requiring resupply of water, food and fuel, the frustration and anger of residents is becoming apparent.

Many of the Degarra residents suffered traumatic experiences with water well over a metre above their roof lines including heartbreaking memories of holding onto trees for periods of 12 hours and 000 calls unanswered still haunt them, whilst the many elderly residents are forced to clear their water-logged homes of inches-deep mud with shovels and water buckets.

“It’s worse than anything I have ever seen, it’s appalling that they have been let down by the people who are supposed to be there for them,” Cr Kerr said.

“These are their homes, memories, and lives… they need help to remove the debris and rubbish that is spread for miles around them, this isn’t the south east corner where an army of local volunteers can come and help and then go home at night.

“These residents only have each other, and they are so far over their ability to do it on their own.”

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Tully cousins recognised for sporting achievements and Whooping cough on the rise.

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