North Queensland communities bracing for weeks of isolation after widespread floods, Australia

North Queensland communities bracing for weeks of isolation after widespread floods

Remote communities in North Queensland are facing weeks of isolation as a “massive” logistical operation is underway to deliver supplies after heavy rainfall over the weekend. Despite being cut-off, graziers and locals have welcomed the rain, describing it as a “good flood.”

According to emergency management coordinator Elliot Dunn for the District Disaster Management Group (DDMG), the Gulf region has been isolated on and off for the past eight weeks, with small periods of reprieve that allowed trucks to access communities. But now, a “massive logistical operation” will focus on getting supplies into towns like Karumba, Normanton, Mornington Island and Doomadgee, which are expected to remain isolated for another several weeks.

Trucks travel as close as possible to Normanton before goods are unloaded onto a boat to be taken up to a bridge to be put on a barge. The barge travels to Karumba and unloads goods before heading back to Normanton.

Dunn said Burketown is looking, this week, at whether they need to get a truck in or fly supplies in, while the Hawkins Transport depot in Normanton is home to a fleet of trucks that service all the communities in the gulf. Owner Brad Hawkins said drivers are having a tough time navigating roads and several have become stranded in remote communities.

The Gulf of Carpentaria recorded the lion’s share of rainfall, with 150 mm (5.91 inches) received in Normanton since Friday, February 17, adding to the 950 mm (37.4 inches) recorded since December. Julia Creek saw a total of 130 mm (5.12 inches) since Friday, while McKinlay saw 100mm (3.94 inches) over the weekend. Burleigh Station in Richmond saw nearly 100mm (3.94 inches) fall since Friday, adding to a total of 464mm (18.27 inches) since January.

Disaster management groups expect towns to remain isolated for several weeks as operations ramp up to deliver supplies to the waterlogged communities. Meanwhile, travelers are being urged to stay off the roads.

The decent rainfall over the weekend has brought relief to graziers and locals in the region. Dunn said it was a “good flooding” for the region, which had recorded its strongest start to the wet season in over a decade.


1 Gulf of Carpentaria isolated by floods for several weeks after welcome monsoonal rain – ABC News – February 20, 2023

Featured image credit: McKinlay Shire Council


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