A Drone flies over Gympie after flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Marcia
A Drone flies over Gympie after flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Marcia

People better than drones at assessing cyclone damage

USING drones and hi-tech equipment might be useful, but authorities say when it comes to assessing the damage from a natural disaster, people are the best option.

"Drone technology is great, but we find by putting a person in an aircraft and in a helicopter they can take photos from different angles and do assessments at the same time," Queensland Fire and Rescue operations officer, acting Superintendent Tony Johnstone, said.

Supt Johnstone is based at the operations centre in Rockhampton.

He said crews were being sent out to assess the damage, which could continue for the next few weeks.

He said equipment they used ranged from paper-based to hi-tech equipment.

But, no matter how advanced technology was, "we rely on visual stuff and personal interactions", he said.

Impacted areas are still undergoing damage assessments to work out exactly how destructive Cyclone Marcia was.

So far, Supt Johnstone said 578 buildings had been declared uninhabitable across the affected areas.

About 725 inspections had been carried out, and would continue for at least another week.

Once a disaster happened, Supt Johnstone said the first job was to do a "windscreen" assessment of the damage, where crews drove around areas and looked at what needed to be further examined.

Then rapid damage assessment crews were sent out to look at flood damage, roof damage or debris.

He said it could take weeks or even months to finish assessing the damage.

In the areas Cyclone Marcia hit, Supt Johnstone said 370 people were assessing the damage on Wednesday, followed by 500 on Thursday.

But eventually he said the teams would be cut down, as more and more assessments were finalised.

- APN NEWSDESK

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