Floodwatewrs in Carnarvon are receding after record rains flooded the town, inundated plantations and caused millions of dollars damage. Water levels at the Nine Mile Bridge, which had peaked around 8m are down to 4.4m and are expected to drop to around 3m by tonight. Premier Colin Barnett yesterday flew over the Gascoyne and town of Carnarvon and declared the area a natural disaster zone as residents remained on high alert despite authorities reporting water levels dropping in some areas.
As floodwaters recede residents will face the heartbreaking task of cleaning up and restoring their lives after muddy brown water has swept through many homes. Some stations have lost hundreds of stock and historic homesteads have been damaged. Mr Barnett said the State Government would provide immediate financial help to those people who have been affected.
“A full contingent of FESA staff and State Emergency Service volunteers has been working around the clock to ensure affected communities are safe in the face of these difficult conditions,” he said. “Assistance is also being provided by Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, WA Police, Main Roads WA, Department of Child Protection, Water Corporation, Horizon Power and local government. “Once again, we have West Australians working shoulder to shoulder to combat a natural emergency. “We are extremely grateful for the assistance of all involved in the flood crisis and are committed to helping the community recover and get back to normal as quickly as possible.”
The federal government will also offer financial assistance to those affected by the floods. Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the Commonwealth assistance would be given to the WA government to help people in the flood-affected parts of the Pilbara, Gascoyne and Mid-West regions. Those who have suffered personal hardship or distress will be eligible for emergency assistance, while funds to restore or replace damaged public infrastructure is available for local governments and state agencies. Small businesses can apply for interest rate subsidies and primary producers will be able to access professional advice grants, interest rate subsidies and freight subsidies.