12 Areas of New South Wales Declared Natural Disaster Zones

Federal Justice Minister Michael Keenan and New South Wales Emergency Services Minister David Elliott have declared 12 areas in New South Wales to be natural disaster zones after the devastating storms and floods that hit on Monday 20 April 2015.

The 12 local council areas are Dungog, Maitland, Cessnock, Gosford, Great Lakes, Lake Macquarie, Newcastle, Pittwater, Port Stephens, Singleton, Warringah and Wyong.

The declaration means that local councils will also have access to funding damage clear up and repair. It also means that those affected by the storms and floods can access personal hardship assistance payment. The funding is provided by the federal and state governments. Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said:

“This assistance will ensure people have access to food, clothing and personal items in the immediate aftermath of the storms and floods.

“It will also provide assistance for accommodation and the replacement of essential household contents, such as bedding and furniture, and structural repairs to homes damaged by the storms and floods.”

Around 200,000 homes in New South Wales have been without power since Monday. New South Wales State Emergency Service has responded to over 14,000 requests for assistance since Sunday.

Flooded road in New South Wales after the storm. Photo: NSW SES
Flooded road in New South Wales after the storm. Photo: NSW SES

Death Toll Rises to 4

At least four people are known to have died in the foods. Three of the victims were trapped in their homes when flash floods raged through the small town of Dungog.

The fourth victim was confirmed yesterday as police divers retrieved the body of an elderly woman whose car was washed away in Maitland earlier that morning.

Storm Abates but Flood Warnings Remain

The worst of the storm has now passed. However, some areas are still seeing heavy rainfall. Around 54 mm of rain fall in 24 hours to 23 April 2015 in Parramatta. Bankstown saw over 60 mm during the same period.

Rainfall totals. Image: BoM Australia
Rainfall totals 22 to 23 April 2015, New South Wales. Image: BoM Australia

Although the wild weather may be over, flood peaks of several rivers may still be to come. As of 23 April 2015, Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued flood warnings for the following:

Hunter River
Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers
Georges River
South Coast
Wyong River and Tuggerah Lake
Lake Macquarie
Paterson and Williams Rivers