SES Volunteers Association of Western Australia (Incorporated)

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23/12/2010 – Thursday Flood Update

A convoy of trucks is waiting on the road leading into Carnarvon, ready to deliver much-needed supplies to flood-ravaged town. The North West Coastal Highway is expected to reopen later today, allowing  trucks carrying  food, water, fuel and other supplies into the town for the first time since the weekend.  Water and power supplies have been restored to most properties as a massive clean-up begins following the worst flood to hit the town in 50 years.

Residents were warned to use as little drinking water as possible because flood damage in the town has left their supply drastically low, SES said.  
“People in Carnarvon and surrounding areas are asked to remain patient while agencies work around the clock to restore essential services and assist the local community.  “There is an adequate supply of food, water and other essentials items for everyone in the town and people are asked to only buy the items they need.”

Helicopters would continue rescue and supply work, including distributing food, water and essentials to isolated communities and stations, on Thursday, SES said.  People have been urged not to touch any food that washes up at Pelican Point, but to contact the Shire of Carnarvon.  They also have been warned to stay out of floodwaters because of dangerous sharp objects that may be hidden below the surface and disease-carrying animal carcasses and pollution “which can make you sick”.

Residents in and around Carnarvon, 900km north of Perth, face a huge clean-up after weekend floods.  Reinforced levees prevented the overflowing Gascoyne River from swamping the town, but surrounding plantations and pastoral stations have lost millions of dollars in crops and livestock.  Its evacuation centre is holding around 150 people, while planes and helicopters are being used to drop emergency supplies to outlying Aboriginal communities and pastoral stations.

Today, about 20 residents of Gascoyne Junction, about 170km east of Carnarvon, were to be airlifted to the evacuation centre after their community lost its water supply and septic tanks overflowed.  As floodwaters recede in the region, which has been declared a natural disaster zone, growers and station owners are returning to their properties to find crops devastated and cattle dead.  
Plantation owners in the big fruit and vegetable growing zone around Carnarvon are angry the state government did not complete flood mitigation works they say would have protected their crops.

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