As the full impact of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie continues to be revealed today as clean up crews make their way through communities in far north Queensland, the Australian prime minister has praised technological innovations for early detection of the storm and the hard work of emergency and Defence services, which potentially protected Australians from further devastation.
“We have put in place enormous preparation for this storm. This is one of the great advantages of all of the technology that you see around us, is to be able to anticipate these events,” Malcolm Turnbull said speaking from the Crisis Coordination Centre in Canberra.
“So there are well over a thousand emergency personnel and Defence personnel literally ready to go in today. They’re working seamlessly with the state emergency services, the cooperation – again – is closer than it’s ever been.
“We’ve learned from one natural disaster after another to refine and improve the level of cooperation. The engagement of the Australian Defence Forces, in preparing for this, is the most elaborate and comprehensive it’s ever been.
“Nature has flung her worst at the people of North Queensland and it’s now our job to make sure that every agency pulls together, and indeed the private sector, particularly the banks and insurance companies pull together, to provide support for the people of North Queensland who have had a very tough day and night in this.”
He said the priority now will be to support recovery efforts across the state, “to clean up, to restore power” and keep Queenslanders safe.
“Above all the important message is to stay safe and follow the advice of the authorities,” he said.
“A lot of the injuries and damage to people is caused by taking risks particularly with flood waters after the storm has passed. If it’s flooded, forget it. Don’t walk through, drive through, let alone try to swim through flood waters. Extremely dangerous.”
In the next 24 hours Mackay will reach a flood peak, and residents are warned to remain vigilant.
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