Lismore CBD residents told to evacuate as floodwaters rise

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Lismore CBD residents told to evacuate as floodwaters rise


Ms Ellemor said she’s angry about the lack of political action on climate change and called for an immediate halt to coal and gas production and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. She’s been involved in the climate movement for more than 30 years and said if she wasn’t passionate before, she’s fired up now.

“We have an election coming up. How Australia votes matters more than any other election,” she said.

Floodwater approaches a house in Lismore on Tuesday morning.Credit:Getty

“In relation to Lismore, the situation with flooding is that we are expecting the Wilsons River to reach somewhere between moderate to major flooding,” Ms Cooke said. “This means that in those lower lying areas of Lismore many buildings, particularly those who were inundated just one month ago, are expected to flood again.”

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Dean Narramore said major flooding levels were possible in the Lismore region on Tuesday evening. Earlier, the bureau warned the Wilsons River level could peak on Tuesday evening at 10.6 metres, but this was revised in the afternoon to peak at around 9.7m, below the Lismore levee.

He said there were also concerns for those living along the Clarence and Bellinger Rivers and those in the Mid North Coast. The low-pressure system is expected to clear in the coming days, but damaging winds and hazardous surf will remain for several days.

A severe weather warning remains in place for the Northern Rivers region, Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands as a low-pressure system approaches the northeast coast of the state.

Six-hourly rainfall totals between 80 to 140 mm are possible, reaching up to 200 mm over coastal areas and ranges. In the 24 hours to 9am on Tuesday, Tweed Heads saw 275mm and Kingscliff recorded 259mm. Meanwhile, the Gold Coast recorded 307mm, the site’s heaviest rainfall since 2005.

A Buddhist monk, part of a group visiting flood affected areas and donating money to victims, walks past a pile of debris in the Lismore central business district on Tuesday morning.

A Buddhist monk, part of a group visiting flood affected areas and donating money to victims, walks past a pile of debris in the Lismore central business district on Tuesday morning.Credit:Getty Images

The evacuation comes after a major flood event earlier this month across south-east Queensland and NSW which resulted in the deaths of 22 people.

One of the hardest-hit areas during the deadly flood event, which occurred from the end of February until early March, was Lismore after the Wilsons River reached unprecedented levels of almost 15 metres.

Lismore resident Tony Bazzana, whose accounting firm in Lismore was inundated by floodwaters weeks ago, said as soon as the warnings began to emerge last night he thought, “here we go again”.

Although the levels are within the ‘normal’ range of flooding for Lismore, there were concerns that on top of the already damaged and saturated land, any rainfall could cause significant damage.

Lismore residents prepare for another flood only weeks after the last event.

Lismore residents prepare for another flood only weeks after the last event.Credit:Getty

“Any business that had reopened was packing up overnight, all the volunteer services and food and clothing [services] that were all stationed close to the levee bank have all gone, the town emptied out overnight,” he said. “It’s certainly not the news that the community needs at this point in time.”

Mr Bazzana said city centre remained without power following the damage to infrastructure earlier this month, and it was very difficult to find builders.

He said many people had been unable to apply for federal and state government business support packages because details had not been finalised. Without immediate support for the local businesses, Mr Bazzana said there would be concerns about the town’s future.

Mullumbimby resident Mary Carolan woke up on Tuesday to the SES telling residents to evacuate. She took the basics, including shirts, a pair of pants, a toothbrush and her 16-year-old rescue dog Choco to the local RSL club.

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While Ms Carolan said some residents have returned home since they were evacuated, she will remain at the club until the SES says it is safe to go home. She’ll spend the time watching a few movies, keeping in touch with friends and family, and sleeping.

“I am just so tired,” she said. “I think we are going to be in for quite a flood. I am going to be here for the long haul.”

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