Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese joins Prime Minister Mark McGowan in witnessing first-hand the devastation that a once-in-a-century flood has wreaked on Western Australia’s Kimberley region.
The tour centers around the small desert town of Fitzroy Crossing, which bore the brunt of the floods dropped by Tropical Storm Erie.
Water levels in the Fitzroy River near the town exceeded all previous records, peaking at 15.81 meters (52 feet) on January 4, breaking the 2002 record of 13.95 meters, but roads and infrastructure was damaged.
Albanese and McGowan to help with recovery efforts Joint announcement Derby West Kimberley, Broome, Wyndham East Kimberley and Halls Creek shire flood-affected communities now have access to disaster recovery assistance.
This assistance is available to individuals, families, businesses, primary producers, non-profit organizations and local governments.
Additionally, Albanese has pledged to provide any support requested by the Western Australian Government.
“We have already deployed aircraft to assist with evacuations and transport critical supplies and will continue to provide assistance now and long after the water recedes,” he said.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt, who took a tour with the prime minister, said the rainfall was “abnormal”.
“The amount of water flowing through this area is staggering and the impact of this on these communities is immense,” he said.
Jeff Haelewa, president of Derby West Kimberley Shire, said the town of Derby was stranded by the flooding.
“Derby, the heart of the West Kimberley, is also isolated because the road between Broome and Derby is blocked,” he says. Said ABC radio.
Haerewa said it was the first time the entire West Kimberley had been isolated.
“Fitzroy Crossing in particular is split in half and there are several communities on the east side of the river that need to be served from the east and even trucks from the west cannot enter,” he said. He said.
“I mean, it’s a logistical challenge. I will do my best to
A once-in-a-century flood
Tropical Storm Erie crossed west from the Northern Territory into the sparsely populated Kimberley region in northern Western Australia (WA) on December 28, 2022.
Since December 30th, 200-500mm of rainfall has been recorded in this area, developing an inland sea 50km wide.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) Said Record-breaking floods will continue in the lower Fitzroy River basin, but the waters around the Fitzroy Crossing are now at minor flood levels and declining.
The Fitzroy River’s main flood peak is now around Willare, reaching a height of 10.6 meters.
The Australian Defense Force (ADF) was called in to assist with flood relief and recovery efforts, deploying two C-27J Spartans and a C-130J Hercules transport aircraft to evacuate the population and deliver supplies.
Over 100 residents were airlifted. However, some have chosen to remain and assist in the recovery efforts.
Haerewa said shelters in his area are little more than makeshift recreational halls without toilet and kitchen facilities to accommodate 300 evacuees.
“So we’re looking for something like these in the future to keep these shelters fit for purpose,” he said.
WA Emergency Services Minister Stephen Dawson described the event as “the worst flooding Western Australia has ever seen”.
“We’ve never experienced anything like this in Western Australia before,” he told reporters on 7 January.
Locals share their photos Social media It shows the damage the water left while starting the healing process.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton took to Twitter to share his thoughts and prayers for all those affected by the disaster.
“My thoughts and prayers for all those affected by the flooding in Washington State at this time. Thank you to the ADF, paramedics and volunteers who are always there,” he wrote.
Thoughts and prayers for all those affected by the floods in Washington at this time. Thank you to ADF, paramedics and volunteers for always being there for us.
— Peter Dutton (@PeterDutton_MP) January 8, 2023
Flood Concerns Mitigate At The Top End
Meanwhile, BOM canceled severe weather warnings for remote areas of the Northern Territory (NT) on 8 January.
The area was preparing for the impact as Erie returned to the Northern Territory after wreaking havoc in Washington State.
“Tropical Storm Erie has finally weakened in the southwest of the Northern Territory,” BOM said.
“Severe weather is no longer occurring in the Northern Territory. Today’s thunderstorm activity in the Simpson area could result in isolated heavy rains, which would trigger a severe thunderstorm warning.”
The situation will continue to be monitored even after the immediate threat has passed.
Nina Nguyen contributed to this report.