Prime Minister Scott Morrison says touring flood-affected far north Queensland has been "overwhelming" but that he hopes his visit has given comfort to stricken Townsville residents.
Mr Morrison spent Tuesday morning touring homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed when the recent deluge swamped about 20 suburbs.
He praised the resilience of flood survivors, and the dedication of the emergency services workers who have rescued hundreds of people from rising waters.
"To hear stories of how people were evacuated in the middle of the night, floodwaters, dark ... I think is an extraordinary achievement and something that the people of Townsville can pat themselves on the back on," he said.
"They've held together and they've kept each other safe."
Mr Morrison said the extent of the clean-up might not become apparent for days.
"I think people are in shock," he said
"A lot of young families, they've worked so hard to get themselves into these homes and to see them just damaged so badly, it must just be heartbreaking."
He said he was confident his visit would reassure residents they had federal government support, but warned there was a lengthy recovery process ahead.
"To provide some comfort, of course, that was our pleasure to do that today, but the real work is to make sure that they can get through the clean-up and rebuild their lives, and we know that ... it's just going to be tough for a while."
Australian Associated Press