FOUR dozen State Emergency Service volunteers from Brisbane have been sent to storm-ravaged towns around Gympie to help with the mammoth clean-up operation following yesterday’s extreme weather.
Families, businesses and farmers are beginning to count the cost of the damage after twin supercells carved a path of destruction 300km long, from Chinchilla to the coast on Thursday.
One of the cells spawned a tornado near the tiny town of Tansey, causing widespread damage.
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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her thoughts were with the families who were caught up in the terrifying storm and said a massive clean-up was underway across the impact zone.
“We’re starting to get a full picture of the damage it has caused,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“We have seen the pictures of a mother who was injured protecting her child and we know there was also damage to crops. But thankfully, there was no loss of life.
“SES crews have been working hard overnight and crews from Brisbane are on their way to the region.
Forty-nine SES volunteers from Brisbane will be sent to Gympie where they’ll spend up to three days assisting with the clean-up.
Agricultural Minister Mark Furner said the pictures of ruined crops were shocking. He is urging farmers with significant damage to apply for disaster relief.
“The ferocity with which the hail and wind hit during the storm was incredibly intense,” he said.
“I encourage any producers who have suffered significant damage to apply for an Individual Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP) declaration.
“Freight subsidies can be applied for under an IDSP declaration.
“I look forward to visiting affected landholders tomorrow to see if there’s anything the state government can do to assist further.”
Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said it was likely the number of SES tasks would increase during the day.
“Overnight to 5.30am, there were more than 300 calls for assistance with 289 of these in the North Coast Region,” Mr Crawford said.
“There were 170 callouts in Gympie, and 53 in the South Burnett.
“The damage was mostly structural, including hail damage to skylights and windows, trees down and leaking roofs.
“Thankfully, the forecast is that severe storms are less likely today in the areas such as the South Burnett, however, the potential for heavy rainfall may affect the clean-up in some areas.
“Local authorities are meeting this morning and will provide an update about any further assistance that may be required.”
If you need help from the SES call 132 500, or call 000 in an emergency.
To arrange an inspection by a Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) officer, call 132 523.
DAF can also assist producers to complete the application for an Individual Disaster Stricken Property declaration.