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Flooded Torres Strait residents plead for help after high tides prompt evacuations

By Kristy Sexton-McGrath and Sharnie Kim, Thursday February 1, 2018 - 14:00 EDT
ABC licensed image
A young boy joins the protest on Yam Island in the Torres Strait. - ABC licensed

Residents forced to flee their flooded homes on a remote far north Queensland island have held protests demanding better protection from floods.

A combination of heavy rain and high tides saw 16 people evacuated from Yam Island in the Torres Strait yesterday.

Residents took to the streets holding signs saying "help our families" and "please help us", and calling for the construction of a seawall.

Social media was also filled with videos and photos of the water's destruction.



In one video posted to Facebook a woman yells "see what we have to put up with every year?" as water streams through her property.

"Can you see what's happening? … Can somebody help? We need help."

Councillor Getano Lui from Yam Island said islanders felt neglected.

"If these sorts of situations happened on the mainland, you'd have every man and his dog there trying to help and assist in any way they can,'' Councillor Lui said.

"Families have been displaced, houses have been virtually washed away."



King tides also crashed over the long-awaited $25 million seawall on Saibai Island, failing to protect the local cemetery and residents' homes from inundation.

Resident Marley Wosomo said he was shocked when waves crashed over the wall and into the street.

"The water came up my yard and everything, " Mr Wosomo said.



"It was knee-deep. A lot of our plants and gardens were destroyed."

Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford said residents affected by flooding could be eligible for relief funding.

"It's a significant concern; king tides will continue to come," Mr Crawford said.

"We are having sea level rises occurring across the globe.

"I'll be certainly expecting to have those conversations not only through my department but with the council there to really nut out what we can do to alleviate this."


- ABC

© ABC 2018

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