Tourism

Travellers stranded by floods facing third week

Two separate groups of tourists and some Lockhart River residents who have been stranded for a fortnight may now have to wait another week before rivers recede enough for vehicles to drive through.

The groups of 22 tourists have been cut off to road access at the river crossings at the Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers due to the floods.

The first group were returning to the small Aboriginal community of Lockhart River after attending a funeral when they were stranded on the Thursday before Easter, according to the ABC.

Five people, including a pregnant woman, some elderly people, and young children, were evacuated from the site last week after having already spent five days there.

The second group are campers from Newcastle with 11 young men and women with four four-wheel-drives.

The ABC reported that a local man who lives nearby where both groups are stuck, David Claudie, is their only point for communication and said there appears to be more rain on the horizon.

“We’ve got rain clouds building up. Hopefully, the river can go down a little bit, just enough for them to cross. We’ve got to keep our fingers crossed. But if the rain comes in now, the rivers will fill up again.,” he said.

Claudie, the CEO of Chuulangun Aboriginal Corporation, lives at at Chuulangun on Kuuku I’Yu Northern Kaanju Homelands, between the Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers, with his family.

Claudie shared supplies and food with both groups of travellers after being visited by them.

“They’re all safe. It’s just that they are running out of food,” he said.

Claudie said that the group of tourists were camped 7 kilometres away from his home.

“The two fellows that came in this morning, they said it [the water] was over their heads.”

The other group are camping about 20km away.

The tourist spots are prone to flooding as Claudie said that supplies have been running low, not just for the groups but for his family as well.

Local councils have dropped food to the groups via helicopter, but supplies are still running low. Claudie said that he does not know how much longer he can keep providing for the tourists.

“We want to help but you can’t pull blood out of a stone,” Claudie said.

“They’ve been offering me money for food and smokes and tobacco, but what am I going to spend it on out here?

“Every wet season, prior to the season, I stock up on food and all that. I know the wet is coming.

“I’m in between the Wenlock and the Pascoe Rivers, so I’m really isolated. But every wet season, we use up all of our reserves in order to survive.

“People like us already have enough stress on our shoulders. We don’t need any more.”


Featured Image: Road closure at Cape York (Facebook/myPoliceCapeYork)



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