Australia – Evacuations After Rivers Rise in Northern Territory

Around 250 people are being evacuated after flooding in areas near Mataranka in Northern Territory (NT), Australia.

Flooded roads near Beswick, NT, Australia, 24 February 2021 – NT Police

NT Police said in a statement of 25 February that rapidly rising waters have surrounded Jilkminggan community near Mataranka, and as a precaution, the Local Emergency Committee has decided to evacuate the community this afternoon. Approximately 250 people are being relocated by boat and bus into temporary accommodation at the town hall in Mataranka.

The Jilkminggan community sits on the banks of the Roper River, which is currently rising due to flow from the Waterhouse River and Warloch Ponds. Roads around Beswick (also known as Wugularr) were flooded on 24 February after the Waterhouse River broke its banks. The Waterhouse River at Beswick Bridge reached 7.68 metres (below minor) on 25 February, Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said.

Regional Controller Acting Assistant Commissioner Travis Wurst said, “Access roads to Jilkminggan have been cut and the community is now surrounded by water. Inundation is predicted in the near future.

“A decision has been made for the safety of the community to evacuate today.

“The evacuees will be looked after in Mataranka tonight, and a decision will be made tomorrow or coming days whether they will be relocated, depending on the situation.”

People in the area should avoid unnecessary travel to allow for the safe evacuation to take place, police said.

On 24 February flood warnings were issued for the community of Daly River, where the river of the same name was rising rapidly. As of 25 February the river stood at 20.22 metres at Dorisvale Crossing and 13.01 metres at Daly River Police Station. The river level is likely to peak at 13.80 metres at this point on 28 February, according to BoM.

Police Incident Controller Commander Janelle Tonkin said, “There has been no evacuation order as yet – the thresholds for evacuation have not been met for this to occur. The community is experienced with flood preparation and know what to do if needed. There is no request or requirement for residents to leave the community at this time.

“That said, planning is well under way if the situation changes and the predicted river height passes that threshold.”

There are currently about 330 people in the Daly River community.