SEVENTY-ONE properties in the South Burnett region have reported widespread damage in the wake of a ‘mini-tornado’ which tore through the region on Boxing Day.
The South Burnett Regional Council is applying to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority in a bid to get disaster relief measures put in place to help affected farmers get back on their feet.
The short-lived storm cut a swath through properties in a narrow strip at the South Burnett region stretching from Kumbia to Hivesville.
South Burnett Regional Council Acting Mayor Kathy Duff said the storm had caused millions of dollars of damage, with roofs torn of houses, fences felled and crops damaged.
“There was damage to crops and cattle killed,” Ms Duff said.
“One piggery I saw was just smashed with all the roofs smashed, it will affect their ability to operate in the short term.”
Cr Duff said the community was pulling together and were trying to get as much support as possible.
She said Reconstruction Authority staff would be in town on Friday to help council determine whether they are eligible for disaster relief funding at either a State or Federal level.
“The hail probably lasted 10 minutes, it was huge hail and wind, like a mini-tornado,” Cr Duff said.
“It tore out trees, de-roofed houses, toppled tanks over, it’s just incredible the amount of damage.
“I don't think anyone realised it would be that severe, people were terrified and I’ve spoken to people who thought they might not survive.
“This time of year we do get the storms, but I guess its unusual to get one as severe as that.
“It is rare to have something to do as much damage in that short space of time.
“If we can get a certain category of disaster we can start to get some support for our farmers.
“Hopefully that will trigger Centrelink support – we are doing as much as we can to get as much assistance for impacted areas.”
Cr Duff said she had been in contact with BlazeAid to provide fencing assistance and praised the community for stepping up to help those impacted.
”The community is stepping up with baked relief, we’ve been blown away with the support we’ve had from neighbours, it’s locals helping locals,” she said.
She praised Men’s Shed members who helped to repair fences and the SES, rural fire brigade and council staff for all pitching in.
Ms Duff said anyone who still needed helping with clearing access to their properties could call the SES on 132 500, or council if they identified road issues on 4189 9100.
To contact BlazeAid or to provide data contact Kathy on .4169 5456 or visit the BIEDO website.