Four and a half tons of supplies were air dropped to the flood-isolated community of Coen in Cape York at the weekend.
More than 400 people in the remote town have been stranded for most of a month, with all roads into town cut by floodwaters. The Cook Shire Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG), which has been on an alert status for most of this year due to flooding around the region, has been monitoring supply levels across the vast Cook Shire on a daily basis.
“As soon as the LDMG received a request from Coen retailers for supplies, it triggered a massive team effort and the request was approved by the State Government less than 24 hours later,” Cook Shire Mayor and LDMG Chair Peter Scott said.
Coen businesses owners, residents, the LDMG, Cook Shire Council, wholesalers and emergency services all pulled together to expedite the process.
“The request comes from the Coen shops to the LDMG, and we then contact Queensland Fire and Emergency Services to prepare quotes and relevant paperwork and the request continues to the District Disaster Management Group and on to the State Disaster Coordination Centre for final approval,” Cr Scott said.
Coen retailers then had to order, purchase and organise delivery of the supplies to the airport and the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services provided the air transport to Coen, where local State Emergency Service volunteers are helping unload. Four and a half tons of dry goods, fresh produce and frozen goods will arrive in four planes today and Sunday, February 9 and 10.
Six isolated properties near Laura, about two hours north of Cooktown, also received supplies via a helicopter yesterday. Some of the properties have been sheltering travellers trapped between rising rivers, or students who should have been at boarding school but could not get out.