Hit by floods, landslides Douglas Shire issues SOS

Just as north Queensland's recovery gathers momentum, the threat of another cyclone looms.

Just as north Queensland's recovery gathers momentum, the threat of another cyclone looms. Photo: AAP

Boulders the size of houses, 100 metre landslides and flooding have hit the Douglas Shire, north of Cairns, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

And that’s just the damage mayor Michael Kerr is aware of in the far north Queensland region, which is now largely isolated.

There are some communities that Kerr hasn’t heard from since Jasper crossed the Queensland coast.

Others are only able to send a message or picture during the brief window they receive mobile phone reception amid continuing heavy showers and thunderstorms.

“The last communication we got from Daintree village was the water was as high as the power poles,” Kerr told AAP.

“Some of the photos are just horrendous. We have roads that have disappeared with 100m landslides and boulders the size of houses.”

About 200 people have been forced to flee their homes after the Douglas Shire was hit by record flooding.

Some were rescued from their roofs after the Daintree River peaked at about 15 metres, eclipsing the 2019 record of 12.6m.

There’s also a flood warning for the nearby Mossman River.

Evacuation centres have been set up at Mossman and Wonga Beach.

“We have houses inundated with water, record rainfall of 1500mm since last week across the region — all of our communities are pretty much blocked off,” Mr Kerr said.

Half the shire has been without water for 24 hours.

“They are using buckets of water to flush toilets,” Kerr said.

More evacuations are expected with a high tide due late on Monday.

It has prompted the Douglas Shire to issue an SOS for assistance.

Kerr said some local communities had learned to be self-sufficient because they are so isolated.

“But conditions like this are extreme,” he said.

“It’s so important we get access to them as quickly as possible that’s why we have put an SOS out to Canberra for military assistance, to come and help us get to these areas.”

About 100km north the entire town of Wujal Wujal is set to be evacuated to Cooktown due to floodwaters.

Kerr said he felt for the Aboriginal community, but hoped the Douglas Shire would also soon receive help.

“Wujal Wujal is in horrific condition, they need to be evacuated and have the ability to head north,” he said.

“But we don’t even have the ability to do that.

“We’ve got another high tide coming this afternoon and the Daintree River is still over major flood levels – we need help.”

Kerr said access to Douglas Shire by road was “impossible”.

“It’s going to have to be by air or by sea,” he said.


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