Flood reporting trickles in amid harvest and as water recedes | The Courier

Date: 2021-12-17 09:34:47

news, latest-news, Floods, DPI, assistance

Persistent rain through the past few weeks has helped to claw nearly the whole of NSW out of drought. In a NSW Department of Primary Industries interim seasonal conditions report, the agency says there is little sign of drought in the state and the department’s Combined Drought Indicator shows 95 per cent of NSW in the recovery or non-drought categories at the end of November. It said pockets of western NSW and western areas of the Riverina continued to experience a slow recovery. “Rain fell in these regions during November, however, it will take more time to assess if this fully alleviates these conditions,” the report said. This is in stark contrast to the majority of the state, which has endured harvest-interrupting downpours and widespread flooding. The DPI was in the early stages of assessing the extent of the damage and during the floods had so far conducted 12 aviation tasks, assisted 122 landholders, helped with two mustering jobs to get livestock to safety and completed five fodder drops to isolated stock. At this early stage, the bill was already about $70.7 million, with 327 damage reports submitted so far. The lost value in crop, pasture and damage to infrastrusture (see above graphic) has been determined mainly from those areas where the floods have begun their retreat. For many other areas, access and safey due to the flooding has meant most impacted areas are yet to properly assess and report. DPI manager emergency operations, Simon Oliver, said a new addition this season was the ability for landholders to use SMS reporting of damage, which had gone out to 40 local government areas. “There’ll be some that don’t report, however, the ability to do it via SMS is a new function,” he said, pointing out that during the 2019 bushfires they had email reporting but not SMS. READ MORE: As moderate to major flooding continued across numerous rivers in Queensland and NSW, the NSW DPI and State Emergency Service were planning for the water making its way into NSW from Queensland. Mr Oliver said river systems with minor to major flood warnings in this region included the Paroo, Narran, Warrego, Culgoa, Barwon, Namoi, McIntyre and Weir rivers. He said the only river yet to see flooding in that region was the Darling – “but it sure is coming with all rivers heading for the Darling”. Meanwhile, the DPI’s aerial surveillance had been identifying livestock at risk and alerting landholders to move stock and fodder to high ground. A more comprehensive report with verified data was expected to arrive in late January. The NSW Government has made natural disaster declarations for severe weather and flooding occurring from the November 9 floods onwards. These include the shires of: Blayney, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Cabonne, Cobar, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Narrabri, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Upper Hunter, Warrumbungle, Weddin, Tenterfield, Forbes Shire, Bathurst, Lachlan, Moree Plains, Blue Mountains, Cowra, Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Goulburn-Mulwaree, Mid-Western, Oberon, Queanbeyan-Palerang, Richmond Valley, Shoalhaven, Walcha and Wentworth. This allows access to assistance under the Category B declaration, which includes: Meanwhile, a National Recovery and Resilience Agency spokesperson said 48 disaster affected local government areas across NSW currently had access to a range of Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) assistance including: help for individuals and families experiencing personal hardship and distress; funding for local governments and state agencies to undertake certain counter disaster operations and repair damaged public infrastructure; and, financial support for primary producers, small businesses and non-profit organisations. Also, the Commonwealth’s Disaster Recovery Allowance has been activated to support people whose income has been affected by the floods.

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