LIVE flood coverage: Council sends military SOS as situation in Daintree, wider Douglas Shire reaches crisis point


Michael Warren


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Council has sent an SOS for militiary as parts of the Shire, including Mossman and the Daintree continue to feel the effects of serious flooding. Picture: Harry Morwood

1.33PM: For the latest please move over to our afternoon coverage, click here


12.42PM: DAINTREE, CAPE TRIBULATION LATEST - Latest on Fuel, food, damage, what you need to know

Just seconds ago Newsport's Daintree based source provided us with the following key information:

The most critical issue in the Daintree is a lack of FUEL. As it stands the local fuel station in Cape Tribulation only has a few days' left of fuel.

Daintree businesses like PK'S Cafe, and Mason's Store are starting to wind down their generator usuage in case of complete emergency status.

Another cricital issue is access to medication and scripts. The Daintree clinic that services locals only has a limited amount of available medication. Those who might be asthmatic, diabetic, or need to receive updated medication.


12.37PM: Hartley's Crocodile Adventures charters chopper to Wangetti to deliver essential supplies

Iconic Douglas Shire tourism drawcard Hartley's Crocodile Adventures has taken bold action by chartering a chopper to bring in much needed supplies to the Wangetti based attraction, no doubt to feed a hoard of hungry crocodiles.

"What have we been up to today?' a social media post read just seconds ago.

"Charting a helicopter to fly essentials and team up to Wangetti. Currently cut off from the outside world by the ravages of TC Jasper and associated weather system."


11.19AM: Daintree residents to meet this afternoon

Daintree residents North of the river continue to unite together in the wake of the ongoing flood crisis in the Douglas Shire.

Residents are due to meet today at 4PM at either Mason's Cafe or Turtle Rock cafe to discuss the state of local roads, ongoing landslide damage, lack of supplies and the issue of fuel stocks which is slowly starting to dwindle in the Daintree.

Fuel is critical because it powers the generators that service households and businesses in the Daintree.


11.12AM: Douglas Shire, Far North volunteer assistance information

Residents wishing to support their community including those across the Douglas Shire following this week’s flooding can make donations of money, goods, time and skills.

Volunteering is being managed by Volunteering Queensland and donations can made through GIVIT.

Cairns Mayor Terry James said there has already been hundreds of offers of assistance reflecting the incredible generosity of the community.

“People have been contacting us with offers of help, or turning up at our evacuation centres with food, blankets and other goods,” he said.

“We appreciate the offers, but it’s important that these are coordinated to make sure help can be prioritised in the right areas.

“While well-intended, unrequested donations can be a problem for recovery teams, who need to spend time receiving and storing the items, which may not be needed.”

GIVIT has opened an online portal for people wishing to donate money or goods to flood victims:

Publicly donated funds received by GIVIT will be used to purchase essential items and services to help people affected by flooding.

Those wishing to donate goods, should visit the portal to see the list of requested items.

Volunteering Queensland is coordinating offers of time, skills and experience to help in the clean-up.

If you wish to help, register your interest with Volunteering Queensland:


11.10AM: Wujal Wujal financial appeal

Gondwana Rainforest Trust has launched an emergency appeal to support the flood recovery of the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal and nearby Ayton, Shipton's Flat and Rossville.

The community is being evacuated today due to record-breaking flooding in Far North Queensland which has resulted in the loss of homes and extensive damage. 

As soon as the waters subside, the Jabalbina Rangers will be on the ground to begin the extensive clean-up operation. 

"We urgently need $100,000 to support the initial response," Gondwana Rainforest Trust founder Kelvin Davies said.

"All money raised will go directly to the Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation, who will undertake an assessment and allocate resources as needed."

Jabalbina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation is the registered Cultural Heritage Body for Eastern Kuku Yalanji Bama (people), ensuring the landscape of Kuku Yalanji Bubu (lands) is both environmentally and culturally secure.

Gondwana Rainforest Trust has a long-standing relationship with the organisation through the Stronger Together partnership, and works closely with the Jabalbina Rangers to protect and restore rainforest in the Daintree. 

There are 10 casual Jabalbina Rangers who can be deployed to help with the clean up.

They need to be transported to Wujal Wujul, Ayton, Shipton's Flat and Rossville and will need resources and chainsaws to remove fallen trees, and high-pressure cleaners and other tools to remove the mud from community buildings and houses.

People can donate to the appeal at:


10.35AM: Douglas Shire food stocks dwindling - stock until Friday only

A Douglas Shire business owner has told Newsport just moments ago he only has enough food stock to serve customers until this Friday. The ongoing need for supplies to be distributed to Douglas Shire residents, hospitals, businesses is currently of the highest of priorities.

As it stands well known supplied Bidfood Australia can't make its deliveries to the Douglas Shire due to the ongoing closure of the Captain Cook Highway which is expected to be closed for at least a month due to ongoing flood damage, landslides and large boulders that have fallen onto the highway.


10.28AM: Douglas Shire power outage - Ergon Energy update

Parts of the Douglas Shire continue to remain without power this morning. This includes areas across the Daintree, Forest Creek, Miallo, Rocky Point, Whyanbeel and large chunks of Wonga Beach.

Ergon says crews are currently out on site doing numerous assessments in order to restore power as soon as possible.

"We have crews out in force on the ground, where they have safe access to the network, and doing fault-finding network patrols in the air," an Ergon Energy spokesperson told Newsport just moments ago.

"Crews were prioritising life-threatening emergencies yesterday and were able to safely restore power to more than 2000 customers in Cairns and on the Cassowary Coast, but there are still several thousand customers without power across the Douglas Shire and we will be working to get as many as possible safely reconnected today.

"We will need to wait until floodwaters recede in some of the worst-affected areas before crews can do a thorough damage assessment and tackle extensive repairs.

"This is a marathon restoration effort and we appreciate the community’s patience in the countdown to Christmas.

"40,000 customers were without power at the peak of Cyclone Jasper and another 10,000 were impacted by the flood emergency, but we have local crews and their mates from across Queensland to support communities in the disaster recovery effort.

"Any homes that have been damaged by the cyclone or subsequent flooding will need to be inspected by a licenced electrician before we can safely reconnect them to the network, so arranging an inspection should be a priority for customers whose service wires, switchboard or wiring may have been impacted.  

"If water has been through your property, do not use electrical equipment, including your switchboard. Water and electricity don’t mix."


10.17AM: Cairns Airport re-opens, operational

In a welcomed development Cairns Airport officials have confirmed the airport has now re-opened and is taking air traffic.

"We are pleased this morning to further confirm Cairns Airport runway is clear, servicable and operational today," a spokesperson said just moments ago.

"We met with our airline partners and other key stakeholders a short time ago. Passenger flights will re-commence this morning. 

"Airlines are determining their own flight operations and schedules."


10.03AM: Douglas Shire deputy mayor Lisa Scomazzon public statement, praises locals for 'uniting in great adversity'

Douglas Shire deputy mayor Lisa Scomazzon has praised local residents 'for uniting in great adversity' as the one in one hundred year flooding continues to impact the Shire.

Speaking from Newell Beach, Cr Scomazzon said she's extremely relived there have been no fataliies during this traumatic time. 

"Firstly, I'm extremely pleased there has been no loss of life in the Shire," Cr Scomazzon said. "It's an unprecedented weather and major disaster event.

"I want the whole Shire to know I'm available to talk and personally assist anyone who needs it. Whether they need shovel assistance, a chat, anything, reach out to me, and I'll help. I know the other Councillors would be the same.

"I want to compliment the people of the Douglas Shire - the way everyone continues to help each other is and has been extroadinary."


9.33AM: Mossman, Mt Molloy road latest

A reminder Mossman, Mt Molloy road remains closed due to damage and flooding along parts of the road. Just moments ago Douglas Police Sergeant Damian Meadows said there has been damage to the road at Bushy Creek, Rifle Creek has gone over with flooding and there's also damage in the Quaid's rd area.

Sgt Meadows says there's no timeframe on when the road will be open to the public. He said the best estimate is at least 3-5 days.


9.19AM: Iconic Douglas Shire tourism attraction to remain closed due to Highway closure, damage

Popular Douglas Shire tourist attraction, Hartley's Crocodile Adventures, will remain closed for the foreseeable future.

"Once again we are receiving enquries about our current opening hours," a staffer wrote a short time ago.

"The Captain Cook Highway remains closed by landslides and flooding. We cannot even get teams to Hartley's for a clean up. So we repeat, for reasons beyond our control, we wil be closed for several days.

"Thanks for your understanding."


9.14AM: Tourism Port Douglas Daintree makes - official tourism body of Douglas Shire makes statement on unfolding flood crisis

"Our region has faced an extroadinary deluge (of rain) from ex Tropical cyclone Jasper over the last five days, bringing unprecedented rainfall and regional flooding," the statement began.

"Our community has rallied and is working tirelessly to restore what makes this part of the world truly special. It is incredibly heart warming to see Port Douglas begin to re-open with people out and about. As we enter the recovery phase your patience, support, and presense make all the difference.

"Here's to sunnier days ahead as we welcome you to back to Port Douglas and Daintree."


9.04AM: Prime Minister comments on Douglas Shire, Far North flood crisis

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says he has plans to visit the Far North including the Douglas Shire to inspect and see first hand the damage and devastation caused by the ongoing flood crisis "when it's feasible and appropriate to do so".

The Prime Minister also confirmed further Australian Defence Support will be deployed to the Far North, including the Douglas Shire as needed and requested.

"HMAS Cairns has been providing small boat assistance since yesterday," he said.

"There are two Chinook helicopters as well as two AW-139s have been made available, personnel and resources will be made further available  as well as requested."


8.57AM: Wujal Wujal Daintree rescue attempts

A third attempt to rescue those in need in the serverely damaged Wujal Wujal community is due to take place this morning. An attempt to evacuate residents from rising flood waters took place yesterday but was aborted because of heavy rain and cloud cover.

"It's been really hard for the community," Wujal Wujal  CEO Kiley Hanslow said of the aborted rescue attempts.

"What happens is we think we're getting the chopper here then the weather comes in, and they can't land to get us out."


8.51AM: Water transport from Port Douglas to Cairns

A reminder for those that desperately need to travel to Cairns today. GBR tour operator Reef Magic is offering a water service from Douglas to Cairns today from 1.30pm.

Spots are limited; please call 1 300 031 411 to confirm your booking. Norseman Reef Fishing is making trips from Port Douglas to Cairns. You can contact them on 0419 015 262.


8.34AM: Water, distributing re-supplies the major priorities for Douglas Shire emergency workers

Douglas Police boss Damian Meadows says there are a number of immediate priorities for officials across the Shire today.

"One of the most pressing tasks today will be providing and issuing re-supplies," Sgt Meadows told Newsport.

"There are large areas of Mossman without water, and thousands of others that have no access to clean water. This is a major concern to us and at the top of our list.

"Take Mossman Hospital staff for example, they need water to issue to patients for differnet medical reasons. At the moment there is limited water to do so, and having patients travel to Cairns is not an option, so we need to issue water, source water and deliver water to those in dire need across the shire.

"The Shire is also running extremely low on fuel. We have about three days left of fuel in the Shire before we run out - i know residents in the Daintree are also running low as well.

"Sourcing and delivering food will also be a priority today as well. It's critical people in our Shire have water and food - the basic essentials to help them through these next few days."


7.57AM: Captain Cook Highway latest - 'Forget 48 hours, we're looking at four weeks'  - Captain Cook Highway likely to be out of action for a month

Douglas Shire police boss Damian Meadows has revealed the major artery between Cairns and Port Douglas - the Captain Cook Highway, is likely to be closed for at least a month.

Further landslides occured on the Highway last night, with large rocks falling on top of the large boulder that's already fallen onto the highway near Rex lookout.

"Particular areas around the Highway remain extremely dangerous and further landslides and landslips could happen at any moment," Sgt Meadows told Newsport just minutes ago.

"We originally thought we could maybe get a lane open in the next 24-72 hours, but that simply won't be the case. 

"The first major priority is to clear and stabilise the Highway - and I use 'stabilise' deliberately. It's extremely unsafe for everyone right now, including TMR officials who are on site and are trying to provide assessments in regards to how to properly re-locate boulders and to fix parts of the highway.

"I would say to Douglas Shire residents - forget driving to Cairns at the moment - the highway is going to be out of action for a while, maybe until at least the end of January.

"Our major priority is getting the highway in a position where firstly, we're able to get re-supplies into the shire - that's the absolute key at the moment."


7.34am: DAINTREE LATEST, situation dire - roads destroyed, multiple landslides, houses decimated by flooding

Devastating footage has emerged out of the Daintree with vision of houses being totally overcome by flooding and people being rescued from their flood ravaged houses by neighbours' boats. 

Daintree Gateway fuit stall instagram shows a lady standing at the back of her dad's property providing commentary and showing footage of her neighbours house being overcome by flood waters, then she shows her own house which is also practically under water. "This is a catastropic amount of water," she says during the recording.

The are a number of dire and very depressing reports coming out of the daintree, including the one above.

Well known Daintree Lawrence Mason says it's like a war zone... he told Newsport just moments ago that: 

- Cape Tribulation rd - the gateway to Cape Tribulation beach and the rest of the Daintree has experienced servere damage

- Noah's Range has experienced 100 metres of landslides

- He's heard unconfirmed chatter that the iconic Alexandra Lookout has been wiped out and no longer exists

- The area around Thornton's beach has suffered massive landslides

- Lawrence claims this is likely the biggest flood event for the Daintree river, Daintree/Mossman area since 1899.

- Lawrence says the Daintree Tea Farm has an astounding 832mm of rainfall during a 24 hour period from Sunday to Monday.

- He says a number of houses have experienced servere flooding 

- He says the most urgent matter right now, is FUEL. He says he and others' have about SEVEN days of fuel left to run their generators before it all runs out. 

- The Daintree River peaked close to 15 metres passing the 2019 record by two metres.


7.33AM: Council sends military SOS - statement, requests for water, roads, food and general urgent assistance

Douglas Shire Council says it has made a desperate plea for help to Canberra for military support as it experiences unprecedented rainfall and flooding.

The Far North Queensland shire has been inundated by more than 1500mm of rain since Wednesday.

The region’s major centre, Mossman is currently without power, sewerage and running water.

This is widespread across the shire, including the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest. Many residents in town were evacuated to the school halls last night while there have been further evacuations in nearby Wonga Beach this morning.

“Council is grateful for the ongoing assistance from those staff that were deployed last week for Cyclone Jasper but has today reiterated its request for military support to gain the needed manpower for further evacuations and the resupply of food and water to those areas cut off,” Mayor Michael Kerr said.

“We’ve asked for urgent deliveries of food and water to be delivered to our isolated communities, including Newell Beach, Wonga, Daintree Village, Mossman, Cape Kimberley and Cape Tribulation.

“The floods have had a devastating impact on both the community and our infrastructure and without this outside help, it will be impossible to recover.

“Our emergency refuge centres were without food early today, we are having to borrow boats to undertake rescues, communications in the shire are patchy at best and those still able to stay at their homes are using buckets of water to flush their toilets.

“Cyclone Jasper drew a lot of attention but it’s this secondary disaster of major flooding that has left our community in a dire situation.”


7.23AM: Good Morning

Good Morning, welcome to Newsport’s ongoing coverage of the flood crisis that continues to have wide ranging impacts on the Douglas Shire.

I’m Newsport editor Michael Warren, stay with me right throughout the day as I bring you the latest information about this ongoing disaster that continues to effect our Shire.


All images credited: John Clarke


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