Flood victim stays in ruined home

Margaret-anne Jensen dreads the onset of winter in her badly flood-damaged Tivoli home.
Margaret-anne Jensen dreads the onset of winter in her badly flood-damaged Tivoli home. Claudia Baxter

A QUALIFIED builder has judged Margaret-anne Jensen's flood-damaged Tivoli home “uninhabitable”, yet she continues to live in its shell.

Since a fortnight after the January flood, she has woken up every day in a home that has no running hot water, no internal walls and few comforts.

With cooler weather on the way, Ms Jensen fears the impact of winter on flood survivors living in similar conditions.

“I've got to light up the house on two power points,” she said.

“There's a lot of people I'm concerned about.

“About 85 per cent of flood-affected residents in my area have walked away from their homes.

“Fifteen per cent are living in derelict situations.”

In the January deluge, Ms Jensen's double-storey house was flooded to the ceilings.

She thought her insurer would cover the $300,000 damage to her home plus contents.

On February 23, NRMA informed her that she was not covered for “flood” damage.

“I'm now applying for an internal dispute claim,” she said.

Meanwhile Ms Jensen will apply for the State Government's $100,000 structural grant to help with costs associated with demolishing her home and rebuilding it above the flood level.

“I couldn't go through this again,” she said.

She knows even that amount will cover only part of the cost.

“I'm going to have to use my superannuation, every cent of it,” she said.

“There's no alternative accommodation.

“I couldn't afford to pay rent and the mortgage.

“It's a distraught situation.

“I now find, because I'm receiving a Federal Government flood recovery subsidy, the State Government is saying they'll deduct that from the structural grant.”

Ms Jensen is keen to go back to work as a nurse, to earn essential dollars and to take her mind off her depressing situation.

“I can't thank enough the church organisations, the neighbours and support group,” she said.

“It's a long road ahead still for me. I'm in limbo.”

The second round of funding from the Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal for Queenslanders affected by the floods will specifically address owner-occupied homes that are uninhabitable.

Applications for the grants close on April 15.

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