Flooded north Qld comes to grips with loss


Townsville is getting on with cleaning up and farmers are coming to grips with their losses after a flood devastated swathes of Queensland.

Homes that were waterlogged in Townsville are starting to dry out but the devastation left behind by a flood that swallowed homesteads and cattle further west is only just being realised.

Beds, white goods, lounge suites and teddies are piling up on the kerbs of suburban streets as residents of the northern city get on with the cleanup.

A total of 11,800 insurance claims amounting to a combined $147 million have been made so far, and the number of homes declared severely damaged or uninhabitable is climbing.

South of Townsville, the search continues for a man missing at Groper Creek after a boat with three people crashed into a jetty about 5.30pm on Friday.

One of the two men who made it to shore was treated for injuries, police say.

Communities in the Torres Strait have been swamped by a king tide, while farming towns out west are facing widespread destruction.

Graziers have told of dead cattle as far as they can see, and from the air hundreds of dead animals have been spotted piled on top of each other.

"There will be tears, there will be breakdowns, there will be so much pain," grazier Nigel Simmons wrote on Facebook.

"But we will get up, we will carry on, we will come out the other side of this, and we will have an excellent grass season for the surviving livestock. Stay strong people."

Farmers are using helicopters to find their cattle and get a sense of just how much they lost when rivers and creeks overflowed to form what has been described as an inland sea in some parts.

Others are getting around their stations on tinnies to check on what is left of fences and infrastructure.

"This is a crisis for the cattle industry," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

"(Farmers) have come out of years and years of drought and now they have gone smack bang into a natural disaster, the likes of which no-one out there has seen before."

Both state and federal governments have opened up grant funding, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying he expects the cost of the once-in-a-century flood to grow.

He and Ms Palaszczuk on Friday tripled the value of disaster grants to $75,000.

The federal government will also spend $3 million on mental health services.

Authorities are investigating what damage may have been done after a train loaded with metals toppled over at Nelia, near Julia Creek.

The Bureau of Meteorology says fine weather is expected over much of the state including the soggy north.

But with the trough to linger off the coast for up to a week it could bring manageable and welcome rain to parched southern areas.

Authorities are also investigating whether there's been any environmental damage from water releases from Indian miner Adani's Abbot Point terminal, south of Townsville.

Government officials were on site on Friday to inspect the area after Adani said there had been a release into the Caley Valley wetlands from an authorised release point.

The Queensland government has ordered a review into the state's flood preparedness and response, including the operation of dams.

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