Australian grocery operator Woolworths has said today (14 January) that delivery of food into its flood afflicted Queensland supermarkets “continues to be challenging” and it could take weeks before stock levels return to normal.

It has urged customers to be patient as it works to replenish shelves.

Airlifts of emergency provisions began yesterday into Townsville and Bundaberg and will continue today, which Woolworths said has “alleviated some pressure on stores in regional Queensland but fresh food supplies are still very low”.

The retailer said a limited number of trucks have started to get through via road and that it remains hopeful that more roads will begin to open up in the next few days, enabling it to send through larger volumes of stock.

Deliveries are now getting through to Roma, Dalby, and Plainlands although two supermarkets in the Ipswich area remain closed due to power outages and flooding, and stores in the Brisbane area that have been closed will be reopening during the course of today.

It added that it will be matching customer donations made to the Salvation Army at its checkouts, with donations already reaching A$2m (US$2m).