Friday, September 30, 2022

NSW, Queensland floods live news updates: fifth death reported in NSW; ‘It’s climate change,’ Palaszczuk says as Qld death toll rises to 10

The NSW government’s response to the unprecedented flooding on the north coast has come under fire from Greens and Labor MPs.

Greens MP Tamara Smith is dismayed by the lack of coordination among government relief agencies, relying on a local armada of as many as 150 private boats to rescue stranded people and deliver supplies five days after rivers broke their banks:

The anger is palpable. It’s like, what’s the use of governments if they can’t support people at these pointy moments?

Evening conference calls with emergency services have left locals “absolutely frustrated”, Smith says. Concerns ranged from empty shops to a helicopter being used to deliver medicine to a single person because other needs weren’t known or catered for.

Ballina shire has just 18 SES volunteers for 32,000 people.

Once you go out into the hills, you’re basically cut off, you’ve got nobody there.

Lismore, a flood-prone town that beat its previous record flood by 2m, is struggling to find homes for evacuees. About 800 people have been temporarily located at the local campus of Southern Cross University, according to Labor MP Janelle Saffin,

The Greens have called for a permanent rapid response team to be set up to respond to disasters, a proposal Saffin supports in light of the difficulties she is seeing on the ground:

We need rapid response. And also, if things can’t be done, we need to tell people and tell them why.

During the height of the crisis, Saffin had to swim from the house she was staying at, while her husband also had a narrow escape:

There was no one to rescue him but ended up getting into a private boat just before he drowned.

The big flood threat to Sydney and its surrounds has only complicated efforts. Challenges for many people include obtaining food and the fuel needed to secure essential supplies.

Both Ampol and BP blamed access problems rather than a supply shortage.

Flooding and road closures were making it difficult to reach retail outlets, both companies said, with a number of service stations forced to close.

Ampol shut five retail stores across the northern regions and north coast, including both its stores in Lismore, adding a “number of our employees have been directly impacted”.

It said it was working directly with emergency services to maintain adequate supplies.

BP said it was “working closely with partners and local authorities to navigate the impacts of the weather”.

Ballina Mayor Sharon Cadwallader said emergency services in her area had managed to secure an emergency fuel from one local service station. The outlets that did have fuel were unable to use cards and the stations were out of cash.

“I’m not aware that we’ve had any fuel supply whatsoever,” she told Guardian Australia, adding that food was running low, including in evacuation centers.

We managed to get a canoe to get some food supplies out of one of the charities that wasn’t affected – well, it was affected, but a lot of product wasn’t. So that was good.

The industry peak group, the Australasian Convenience and Petroleum Marketers Association, described the damage to outlets as “unprecedented” . chief executive Mark McKenzie told the ABC:

There are service stations where the water is basically to the top of the canopy. It’s going to be some time in those areas before we can get fuel flowing again.

Guardian Australia contacted the NSW premier Dominic Perrottet’s office and Resilience NSW for a response.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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