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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Cyclone Jasper victims at breaking point

LOCALS in the town of Degarra are pleading for help fearing they’ve been forgotten after nearly two metres of rain swamped the community and destroyed their homes in the wake of Cyclone Jasper.

Degarra resident Courtney Rollins said they can’t take much more as they are forced to shelter under tarps and in tents as more monsoon rainfall drenches Far North Queensland.

“We need help! They keep promising to help us and we haven’t seen any of it yet – we need help now,” she said.

Billy and Michelle Dunn, who’ve lived in the area for more than three decades, fear for the life of a neighbour who was washed away and hasn’t been seen since December 17.

“We have nothing – no one is coming to help us,” Michelle said.

“Paradise found is now paradise lost,” Billy added.

“We need a lot of help, the road access is buggered and everything is a total mess – the destruction is next level.”

Residents are crying out for temporary accommodation, “boots on the ground” support and more resources to clean up their destroyed and muddy homes.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr described the situation as “ludicrous.”

“The residents of Degarra are at breaking point,” he said.

“We need to get what was promised for the locals.

“It’s a ludicrous situation that we can provide assistance for countries overseas within hours, but our residents have been waiting over a month since the disaster, and seven days since approval was given for assistance and they’re yet to see any.”

Queensland’s Department of Housing has sent caravans to the region but refuses to set them up on private properties where residents need them because of “insurance” reasons.

“This is clearly bureaucracy gone crazy, there are caravans sitting three hours’ walk away and locals don’t have cars,” Mayor Kerr said.

“They need accommodation close to their properties, they need somewhere safe to sleep, and they need it now.

“We’ve had everyone here, the Premier has walked the streets, the Prime Minister has flown over the area – everyone is calling this a major disaster yet there’s no urgency getting help for these people.”

Keep up with the latest news in Cairns and the Far North, and check out some of our top stories this week: Nominees announced for TRC Australia Day and Grant a boost to Cairns company.

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