Thousands of homes remain without power after severe Tropical Cyclone Marcia slammed into the Australian Central Queensland coast last Friday. The category five system left a trail of destruction and an undetermined damage bill expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Emergency crews and members of the Australian Defense Force are working around the clock to clear debris, ensuring public safety.
While the clean up continues and energy crews work to restore power and essential services, residents are growing angry at what they feel is a lack of compassion and assistance shown by the Australian Federal Government.
Residents of Rockhampton, Yeppoon, and surrounding areas that sustained the highest impact of the cyclone, have criticised the Prime Minister for not visiting the area in a show of support.
Some have even commented on social media that the Liberal National Party’s defeat in the recent Queensland election is the reason the Prime Minister has not yet surveyed the areas himself.
Newly elected Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, has visited the areas worst hit, however, has not disclosed details of conversations with the PM regarding his movements in relation to the disaster.
The Federal Government’s Department of Human Services has also come under fire from locals over the eligibility criteria of the Tropical Cyclone Marcia February 2015 – Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment.
Financial assistance is being offered to residents who have suffered severe damage to their homes, serious injury or loss of life of family members.
Residents say even though they may not have lost their homes or lives, they have lost hundreds of dollars of food and other items and many people are unable to work due to business closures and safety issues.
With no income for many in the area due to the cyclone, residents are concerned they may not be able to make ends meet in the coming weeks after replacing lost food and damaged goods. Many have taken to social media commenting that due to the loss of power experienced since the cyclone they are now out of pocket having had to purchase generators, fuel and gas.
Criminal behaviour has also increased throughout the area with instances of theft of generators and looting of damaged homes becoming an issue.
The Department of Communities has also announced assistance in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Marcia, yet residents are also skeptical over whether they will meet eligibility.
People requiring assistance are urged to contact both departments immediately to assess eligibility, while The Salvation Army, Red Cross and several other charities are also offering assistance to those in need.
Residents with insurance cover are also urged to contact their insurance providers immediately with claims in the area already totalling in excess of $53 million dollars.
A petition in relation to the assistance packages is now being planned by residents in the area to be presented to Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the following weeks.