Relief crew heads north



ROCKHAMPTON'S Tom Waerner departed for cyclone ravaged Innisfail yesterday not knowing what to expect when he arrived.

The Ergon Energy live linesman was part of a 10-member crew from Rockhampton and Yeppoon which hit the road in a convoy of specialist line vehicles.

"We'll be reconstructing damaged networks and reconnecting power to homes,'' Mr Waerner said.

"From what I've seen on TV, it'll be fairly hard work. About 60 or 70 per cent of the area is without power. We'll just help out where we're needed.''

The cyclone caused more than $1 billion in damage to crops, infrastructure and buildings.

The Ergon contingent will relieve central region staff who have been on the ground since last Tuesday ? 21 staff from Mackay and six from Rockhampton were despatched to Innisfail.

It is Ergon's largest response to a natural disaster with crews from as far south as Bundaberg called in to assist.

Ergon's general manager of operations, Peter Billing, said the company was spending about $1 million a day on the power restoration effort.

"This will be an ongoing situation because of the sheer breadth of the destruction around Innisfail and the surrounding regions ? as far south as Cardwell and including Mission Beach, Babinda and Tully,'' he said.



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