Hobart residents call for better clean-up communication
Michael Kerr, whose home was damaged in the flooding, wants better communication from Hobart City Council. (ABC News: Carla Howarth)
The harsh reality of the scale of the clean-up needed is hitting many Hobart residents following the worst storm to visit the city in decades.
Michael Kerr has lived in South Hobart for 20 years. It was one of the suburbs hardest hit by the Thursday night inundation that flooded many Hobart properties.
“It was a pretty big deal for us, our car was half underwater, two motorbikes, you can see the level of the waterline,” Mr Kerr said.
Water inundated his shed and under the house, but luckily, the interior of his home remained dry.
He is now clearing debris from his backyard, but how long the clean-up task will take remains unclear.
“I’ve no idea, obviously the priority for everybody is to get the roads and the footpaths redone,” he said.
But Mr Kerr is frustrated at the lack of communication from council since the flooding.
“I would like to have more feedback from the council, the only feedback we get is going and talking to a road worker,” he said.
“The council should have at least come around and one, been concerned about their residents, and secondly, advise them where to put all the debris and the flood-damaged goods and stuff like that — at least [provide] a couple of skips or something.”
The State Emergency Service said it was pleased with the multi-agency response to the weather event.
The assistant director of operations and resources, Leon Smith, said more than 65 SES volunteers helped out in the south.
“I’ve been a member of this organisation for six months, and it just makes me so proud of the effort that’s been put, in but also the professionalism of the organisation and their willingness to be able to contribute to such a successful outcome in such a significant event,” he said.
Almost 400 calls for assistance were received in the southern part of the state during the past few days.
Acting southern regional manager Mark Dance said even though the weather had calmed, the SES was still around to help.
“We’re here for the long haul,” he said.
“Even though the main response is over, we’ll still be here answering our phone for the next however many days required for this instance, and what we’ll do no matter what it is we’ll still be out there,” he said.
Mr Smith said emergency crews were using a drone today to help in the recovery effort.
“The drone is used to be able to gather more rapid intelligence in a really timely manner,” he said.
“In this instance, with the impact on the CBD, they’re mapping that impact from the CBD all the way up the rivulet, covering the significant area around McRobies Road, and the tip site as well.”
Many University of Tasmania laboratories were damaged by floodwaters. (ABC News: Bryan Milliss )
The South Hobart tip has been closed due to extensive water damage and is expected to remain closed for several days.
Insurance claims following the extreme weather event have already passed 500, with the damage bill so far exceeding $2 million.
The chief executive of RACT Insurance Trent Sayers said it had been a very busy couple of days.
“It’s a very high number, it’s up there at the moment as one of the biggest events that we’ve had,” Mr Sayers said.
Most claims have come from the Kingborough area and Greater Hobart.
The focus for the moment is the emergency response.
“To ensure homes are secured, that our customers are safe and that we’re drying out homes as quickly as we can and then we can assess the longer-term repair requirements,” Mr Sayers said.
About 1,400 customers are still without power across the state.