Vinegar ‘worth more than gold’ in Townsville
A HUMBLE household item has been declared "worth more than gold" in Townsville as residents in the no longer disaster declared city go to war against the scourge of mould.
White vinegar has become one of Townsville's most sought-after commodities as damp surfaces combined with high temperatures and humidity levels wreak havoc on homes already ruined by floodwaters.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the State Government had been in contact with supermarkets to ensure there were fresh stocks of cleaning goods such as vinegar, which can be very effective in removing mould.
"Our close relationship with those on the ground has told us that vinegar is worth more than gold," she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the community had a "way to go" but every day moved closer to getting life "back to normal".
"Our western communities are dealing with heartbreak after heartbreak," she said.
"These families, who love and care for their stock, are in the grip of unbelievable grief."
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said now the floodwaters had receded, mould would be the major concern for Townsville residents.
"It will be a heartbreaking time for the people in Townsville," she said.
"They're facing temperatures of 37C and humidity of 60 per cent … their big problem now is mould and actually getting their houses into state where they're habitable again."
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford yesterday signed the declaration lifting Townsville's disaster status after experts determined the risk of loss of life, illness or injury to humans, property loss or damage and environmental damage had "significantly reduced".
Mr Crawford said the local government areas of Burdekin, Charters Towers, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, Palm Island, Richmond and Townsville were now in "full recovery mode".
"Within the next 24 hours our evacuation centres should be empty with everyone in need in proper accommodation," he said.
A further 17 state schools will reopen in Townsville today bringing the total number reopened since the flooding began to 40.
More than 23,600 people have received about $4.02 million in hardship payments, while the North Queensland Floods Appeal has received more than $2 million so far.
Power has been reconnected to about 15,000 homes, with Ergon reporting about 800 remained disconnected as at 5pm on Sunday.
Ergon is aiming to have supply available to all customers impacted by the floods by Tuesday February 12.
The government has opened a local tradies register to add more local workers to insurer-approved lists.
Townsville City Council started aerial treatments of mosquito breeding sites on Sunday.
Residents have been warned to take care and use insect repellent as humid conditions continue to develop in the coming week.
Local Recovery and Resilience Group Chair Cr Les Walker said the council had opened a number of temporary waste disposal facilities and increased operating times at some waste transfer stations.
Council crews will collect flood waste and debris in the Collection Zones until Sunday 17 February.
Cr Walker said fees were being waived for flood-affected domestic waste.
The Insurance Council of Australia has announced it will hold two forums in Townsville to provide claims guidance on February 25 and March 25.
A TOWNSVILLE man says he's "undecided" whether he will stay in the city after floodwaters inundated his family's home.
Idalia resident Peter Walters said the water came up about half a metre inside his Riverwood Drive home, which he and his wife and daughter evacuated from on Saturday.
Mr Walters said he "never" expected his house would flood.
"I was just devastated, lost two cars … and my work gear with all my tools in it," he said.
"We put things up on our beds, hoping that would be high enough, but we've lost photos, memorabilia, kid's portraits … it's gone."
Mr Walters said he was a born and bred Townsville local but wasn't sure if he'd stay in the city after this.
"Undecided yet. Just trying to find somewhere to live first and we'll go from there," he said. "We went and had a look at a couple of houses on Friday and we went to one house and there's 30 people looking at one house; it's terrible."
Mr Walters said after "many a sleepless night" his first priority was getting his family settled again.
"We're staying at the mother-in-law's at the moment, me and my wife and my daughter … so it's just the three of us but we're staying on the floor on single mattresses," he said.
"There's a lot probably worse out there," he said.