Hundreds of thousands of cattle weakened from a severe drought are feared to have died in record-breaking floods in northeastern Australia, authorities said Friday, as they stepped up efforts to feed surviving livestock.
— PM of Australia News (@AustraliaPM) February 8, 2019
Incessant rains over an almost two-week period have flooded swathes of Queensland state, with the full scale of the devastation on drought-hit cattle stations becoming clearer as floodwaters recede.
“We are expecting hundreds of thousands in terms of stock losses,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
“This will be heartbreaking to these communities that have been experiencing years of drought, only to see that turn into a torrential inundation which threatens now their very livelihoods in the complete other direction.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Friday spoke of seeing a “sea of dead cattle” when she toured one region on Thursday.
“To see the cattle spread across these yards, not moving, it made you feel sick in the stomach,” she told national broadcaster ABC.
“We need Australia to back us.” Jane McMillan says grazing families who’ve lost all of their cattle in the North Queensland floods won’t have an income for the next three years. She’s urging the Federal Government to step in and help. pic.twitter.com/lVhH3JI9Aw
— ABC Brisbane (@abcbrisbane) February 8, 2019
Bales of hay and fuel have been transported into towns near the disaster zones and are being distributed to farmers so they can carry out airdrops to their stock.
Farmer Rachael Anderson and her husband, who manage Eddington cattle station near Julia Creek township, said 800 of their 1500 cattle were still unaccounted for.