SES urges caution during mopping-up operations

The Cataract Gorge in flood.

The Cataract Gorge in flood.

THE State Emergency Service has warned people to be cautious when undertaking clean-up work this weekend.

‘‘Trees and branches may have been weakened by the weather and just a small disturbance could make them fall,’’ SES spokesman George Cretu said.

‘‘If they’ve fallen against a building, then they should be removed by experienced people.’’

Mr Cretu advised people to be wary of building debris – particularly broken glass, sharp metal and torn roofing – and wear protective equipment when appropriate.

He said asbestos must only be removed by a professional and encouraged people to be careful when climbing on roofs.

Mr Cretu said 200 volunteers had been utilised during the peak of the week’s poor weather.

He said call-outs had slowed considerably by Thursday evening.

‘‘We had no new requests for assistance to any degree throughout the state – we actually stood our reserves down in the middle of the night and through the early hours of the morning,’’ Mr Cretu said.

‘‘Over the weekend, we still have all our incident teams ready to go.

‘‘We’re very pleased with the level of support we’ve got from our volunteers, who have helped at inhospitable times and inhospitable places to protect Tasmanians.’’

Launceston City Council general manager Robert Dobrzynski said the council’s crews were likely to focus on cleaning up debris for at least a fortnight.

‘‘What we’ve seen is about 50 downed trees in the urban area of the municipality and about 250 in the rural areas,’’ he said.

‘‘On top of that, there are around another 100 to 200 trees that will require attention from an arborist, or possible removal. These are only the trees on council managed land, and there are obviously many more on private land around Launceston.’’

He said Carr Villa would remain closed until Monday but thanked the community for its support.

‘‘There have been round-the-clock efforts from council staff and SES crews, the majority of who are volunteers, in responding to the almost unprecedented wind and storm damage that occurred.

‘‘We’re very fortunate to have this level of community spirit in Launceston.’’

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