(OT) The Antipodean delugegreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
NSW flood victims could be trapped for weeks
Published: Friday February 25, 5:33 PM
Residents in flood-affected areas of western New South Wales could be trapped on their properties for up to six weeks, emergency authorities said today.
As floodwaters subsided with today's fine weather, a picture of devastation spanning thousands of kilometres emerged over the landscape.
State Emergency Services (SES) spokesman Rick Stone said the freak weekend downpour which triggered the flood had damaged unsealed roads, ripped up fences and caused the deaths of thousands of stock.
The flooding was made worse by large volumes of water flowing into the Paroo River system from Queensland.
Areas affected include White Cliffs, Wilcannia, Tilpa and Paroo.
Mr Stone said 11 people who were evacuated at the height of the emergency had returned home but many others were trapped on their properties because of unsafe roads.
Emergency crews were today focused on organising food drops by air, including to a family of seven at White Cliffs, 260km north-east of Broken Hill.
'There's a four-month-old baby on that property,' Bourke SES officer Leon Wicks said.
'The property is surrounded by water and road access has been cut.
'They've ordered the food from their local grocery store, it will be our job to have it delivered to them.'
The SES had chartered a second helicopter from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to speed up the distribution of supplies, Mr Stone said.
He said local crews estimated it would be six weeks before floodwater had completely subsided and roads had been graded to make travel possible.
NSW Premier Bob Carr, who last night declared the area a natural disaster, said affected families would receive natural disaster relief money from the government.
Assistance would be provided in various forms including low interest loans and subsidies, grants to local councils, loan assistance to restore damaged facilities and personal hardship and distress assistance, he said.
Producers may be eligible for loans of up to $80,000 under the Rural Assistance Authority natural disaster measures, Mr Carr said.
Westpac this morning announced it would suspend home loan repayments for up to three months for people affected by the floods.
Mr Carr called on other banks and financial institutions to follow suite.
The Westpac disaster relief package will allow businesses with existing loans to request a loan restructure without the usual bank establishment fees.
And credit card customers may ask to defer their next credit card payment.
NSW Farmers today welcomed the response.
'For years, farmers and communities have battled drought and now they are struggling to cope with the heaviest rainfall seen in eight years,' NSW Farmers spokesman Mal Peters said.
'We understand that many farmers have lost extensive amounts of fencing and suffered significant stock losses.
'It's very wet in parts and lots of roads have been damaged in the deluge.'
NSW National Party leader George Souris said the floods were the worst to have hit the area in 25 years.
He said it was vital families were given immediate assistance, including emergency fodder and concessions on transporting stock.
'This is a natural disaster on a large scale,' he said in a statement.
'While country people are somewhat used to the vagaries of the weather, only quick action by the government will ensure the community gets through this disaster intact.'
Lots of action over a very large region. Here are two links to show you the scale of it.
Helicopter rescues four from Queensland floodwaters
Floodwaters ease in Longreach but rise in north-western NSW
Posted as general awareness articles for Forum dudes who hadn't heard about it. Queer weather we're getting. I pray for rain in the dry deepest South of OZ and it's dumped on Queensland! Towsville is submerged I hear....
Regards from Down Under - glug glug gluggity glug
-- Pieter (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 25, 2000
Thank you for the update Pieter. I am sorry to hear about the problems going on there. The weather has been very unusual in many areas of the world.
-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), February 25, 2000.
Still wondering why paragraphs in Aussie newspapers are no more than one short sentence long.
-- Squirrel Hunter (email@example.com), February 25, 2000.
Gee. It's one thing after another for you folks down there......
-- NH (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 25, 2000.
There should be a boat in every barn. Just in case.
-- Bilbo (baggins@new~row.org), February 25, 2000.
I believe hobbits have a strong aversion to H2O, except for certain Brandybucks, who, as we all know, are just strange folks living at the edge of the Shire somewhere by a river and a hedge. Hobbits and boats don't mix well at all really...
Now, let's see. About them mushrooms that Frodo lad nicked.....
-- Pieter (email@example.com), February 26, 2000.