The desperate plea made by Douglas Shire Mayor Cr Michael Kerr to State and Federal Governments for military support has gone ignored with some devastated communities now isolated for over two weeks with no reprieve in sight.
Cape Tribulation continues to remain blocked by landslides from the south and north with the 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 for where we might be able to make a suitable track.
“We are doing everything within our capabilities to solve these logistical problems, however, these are not circumstances that a small regional council is equipped to deal with. 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. We need State and Federal Government assistance for our residents who have now been isolated without power or running water for weeks.” said Douglas Shire Mayor Cr Kerr.
“The fear of a second economic blow is now looking more likely with the icon of Queensland’s tourism, the Daintree Rainforest still shut to tourism and businesses remaining closed with no financial assistance on offer to facilitate the massive losses they are occurring. This is not just hurting Douglas, hundreds of tourists from Cairns use tour companies daily to see the Daintree rainforest.” said Cr Kerr.
With Cape Tribulation and Degarra still requiring resupply of water, food and fuels the frustration and anger of these residents are becoming apparent as the apprehension builds of a monsoon season closing in on them and no ability of escape if another rain event was to occur, substantially Increasing the risk of fatalities occurring.
Many of the Degarra residents suffered traumatic experiences with water well over a metre above their roof lines. 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. 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.” said Kerr.