Close to 300 properties in cyclone-battered north Queensland have been deemed unlivable, as authorities rush to address water shortages in the region.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says about 2000 damage assessments have so far been completed in the cyclone’s northern strike zone, with 270 properties damaged so severely they can’t be lived in.
Despite the focus turning to southeast Queensland and northern NSW following Cyclone Debbie’s destruction, Ms Palaszczuk insisted isolated north Queensland communities had not been forgotten.
The premier said authorities were “very conscious” about struggling communities such as Bowen, Proserpine and Airlie Beach, who were all battered by the category four storm on Tuesday.
“We are trying to get in there as quickly as possible. Let me make it very clear – help is on its way,” she told reporters at Beenleigh, where the local train station has been swamped by floodwaters.
Ms Palaszczuk said there were concerns about water supplies in the north.
“The army is doing everything it can to get water into those parts of North Queensland. I mentioned Airlie Beach, Proserpine, and the Whitsunday Islands. We have the SES helping with that,” she said.
Power restoration is the other critical factor hampering recovery efforts, with 50,000 properties in the Bowen, Mackay and Whitsunday regions still without electricity three days after Debbie crossed the coast.
It is slowly being restored to petrol stations and other essential services at Airlie Beach, after generators were brought in on trucks on Friday morning.
Authorities are also warning that Rockhampton could see significant flooding next week, after huge rainfalls in catchments feeding into the Fitzroy River.
“There is a concern for Rockhampton,” Bureau of Meteorology regional director Bruce Gunn told reporters.
At Airlie Beach, the army has used tanks and a truck to deliver almost 20,000 litres of much needed drinking water.
One pulled up at The Lagoon in the centre of town while the other went to The Centro shopping centre.
Young Kim is one of thousands of residents who has been without power and running water since Cyclone Debbie tore through the town.
He arrived early to secure his supply, saying the 30 litre containers he filled up would last about two days.
“We’ve been rationing,” he said. “I didn’t expect it to be like this, especially the toilet situation.”
Live Life Pharmacy manager Karen Milostic cried when she walked into one of her stores. It only reopened six months ago following extensive renovations to reduce damage caused by bad weather.
“The shop had been flooded twice before,” she told AAP.