Ergon Energy workers started reconnecting residents in Hydeaway Bay 15 days after Cyclone Debbie. Image: Supplied
Ergon Energy workers started reconnecting residents in Hydeaway Bay 15 days after Cyclone Debbie. Image: Supplied

New link to keep contact during natural disasters

When Cyclone Debbie hit, more than 500 residents from the Gloucester District lost all contact with the outside world.

The community had no phone or internet communication and could not contact emergency services for nearly four days, a situation made even more terrifying by road blockages that prevented many from reaching help.

Now, thanks to the Gloucester Sports and Recreation Club, the region won’t have to endure the same circumstances in the event of another natural disaster due to the installation of a microwave link.

The microwave link will allow residents to make calls and access internet from the clubhouse when power is lost for more than seven hours and when Telstra and Optus telecommunications services are not available.

The link was established between the club and the Whitsunday Regional Council’s powered fibre optic node in Proserpine and is not reliant on landlines, mobile networks or NBN.

Instead, it is solar powered and has dedicated automatic generators to ensure a connection can be maintained.

The link has been two years in the making and was made possible with a grant from the Queensland Disaster Resilience Fund which will see $38 million administered over four years to assist communities in the state to better prepare for disasters.

In a statement from the club, members hoped the link would help save lives, allow people to seek help and connect families after a natural disaster.


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