Flood Recovery

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Council and a range of government agencies and charities are here to help our community recover from the 2021 floods.

Get the latest information on the flood impacts from Kempsey Shire Council's website.

Disaster Declaration

A Disaster Declaration has been made that includes the Kempsey Shire. Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Service NSW is also able to assist individuals and businesses impacted by severe storms and flooding:

For assistance dealing with personal hardship and distress, call Service NSW on 13 77 88.

For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

See more information on support from Service NSW.

Register for help!

UPDATE April 9, 2021

Requests for assistance on private property have had to be suspended as Council have been advised that Disaster Relief Australia are now not able to establish a camp in the Kempsey Shire, due to limited available personnel and the significant need identified in the Camden Haven.

The Recovery Team will keep working with Resilience NSW on options for support and confirm more information when a date is confirmed to set-up a new camp for BlazeAid.

Emotional Support

Emotional support is available

This is a difficult time for many. If the impact of the flood is getting to you, Lifeline is here to listen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14.

Safety and movement of stock

The Department of Primary Industries is available to assist with stock safety and movement. Please call the AASFA hotline at 1800 814 647 for assistance.

Donations

Our community is incredibly generous in times of need. If you are seeking to help through giving, please ensure you are donating responsibly.

Together with the NSW Government, we're asking people not to donate unwanted goods to communities affected by the floods. Sorting and storing these items takes up valuable volunteer resources that could otherwise be used to help people more directly. If you would like to contribute, please do so through the not-for-profit organisation, GIVIT.

Find out what donations are needed.

Council and a range of government agencies and charities are here to help our community recover from the 2021 floods.

Get the latest information on the flood impacts from Kempsey Shire Council's website.

Disaster Declaration

A Disaster Declaration has been made that includes the Kempsey Shire. Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Service NSW is also able to assist individuals and businesses impacted by severe storms and flooding:

For assistance dealing with personal hardship and distress, call Service NSW on 13 77 88.

For free help in your language, call Translating and Interpreting Services on 13 14 50 and ask them to contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

See more information on support from Service NSW.

Register for help!

UPDATE April 9, 2021

Requests for assistance on private property have had to be suspended as Council have been advised that Disaster Relief Australia are now not able to establish a camp in the Kempsey Shire, due to limited available personnel and the significant need identified in the Camden Haven.

The Recovery Team will keep working with Resilience NSW on options for support and confirm more information when a date is confirmed to set-up a new camp for BlazeAid.

Emotional Support

Emotional support is available

This is a difficult time for many. If the impact of the flood is getting to you, Lifeline is here to listen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14.

Safety and movement of stock

The Department of Primary Industries is available to assist with stock safety and movement. Please call the AASFA hotline at 1800 814 647 for assistance.

Donations

Our community is incredibly generous in times of need. If you are seeking to help through giving, please ensure you are donating responsibly.

Together with the NSW Government, we're asking people not to donate unwanted goods to communities affected by the floods. Sorting and storing these items takes up valuable volunteer resources that could otherwise be used to help people more directly. If you would like to contribute, please do so through the not-for-profit organisation, GIVIT.

Find out what donations are needed.

  • Council announces outreach visits to flood affected areas

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    07 Apr 2021

    Beginning Friday, 9 April, Kempsey Shire Council and various services providers will be visiting communities impacted by the recent flood.

    Residents who require assistance are encouraged to visit and seek assistance.


    Friday 9 April

    Stuarts Point, Stuarts Point Hall: 10am – 11:30am

    Kundabung, Kundabung Hall: 1pm – 2:30pm


    Tuesday 13 April

    Bellbrook, Bellbrook Hall (TBC): 10am – 11:30am

    Willawarrin, Willawarrin Hall: 1pm – 2:30pm


    Thursday 15 April

    Belmore River, Belmore Hall (TBC): 10am – 11:30am

    Crescent Head, Crescent Head Hall: 1pm – 2:30pm


    Friday 16 April

    Wittitrin, Fire Shed: 10am – 11:30am

    Dondingalong, Fire Shed: 1pm – 2:30pm


    Additionally, a range of recovery services and support are available for residents across the Shire who have been impacted by flooding.

    Residents are welcome to visit the Recovery Hub at 57 Elbow Street, Kempsey. The Recovery Hub is open between 8:30am and 4pm Monday to Friday with extended hours till 6pm on all Thursday's during April.

  • Interested in helping out?

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    01 Apr 2021
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    Our community is incredibly generous in times of need.

    If you are seeking to help through giving, please ensure you are donating responsibly.

    If you'd like to contribute, the official way to do so is through the not-for-profit organisation, GIVIT.

    To find out what donations are needed or learn more about GIVIT’s ‘Severe Storms and Flooding’ Appeal, visit https://www.givit.org.au/severe-storms-and-flooding

  • Community information for people evacuated from Stuarts Point homes

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    01 Apr 2021
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    What must happen before you can move back in?

    The priority for the multi-agency response is to get people back into their homes, however each property needs to be assessed to ensure that the house is habitable and that the on-site sewerage system is functioning and can accept effluent.

    There is still water rising into parts of the Stuarts Point exclusion zone. Manual pumping of this water will occur 24 hours a day while it continues to rise however this will continue to have an impact on several homes.

    If your home is no longer affected by rising ground water and is within the exclusion zone there are criteria that need to be assessed before your home can be declared safe to live in and the evacuation order removed.

    Those criteria are:

    • Is there water on the site?
    • Has the home been inundated?
    • Is the home structurally sound?
    • Is the septic system for the home operational?

    Fire and Rescue, NSW SES and Kempsey Shire Council are working together to ensure every affected home is deemed safe before people can return.

    How do I find out when my house is safe?

    The results from inspections are being collated daily. When your home has been assessed as safe you will be contacted and advised that the hazmat tape has been removed and it is safe to return to your home.

    At some properties, there may be a short-term requirement to pump out septic tanks until such time as the onsite system can operate normally. This pumping will be organised via the multi-agency response efforts, in addition to the ongoing pump work to reduce the groundwater levels.

    Everyone who was evacuated was expected to register with Disaster Welfare on Friday night, whether temporary accommodation was required or not.

    If your home is in the danger area and you have not registered your contact details, please complete the form available from Disaster Welfare at the Information Session or contact 137 788. Alternatively visit the Recovery Hub, 57 Elbow St West Kempsey, between 8:30- 4:30 Monday to Friday. Please make sure these contact details are provided by 4:30pm Thursday 1 April, 2021.

    How long will it take?

    The circumstances for each property are different and as such, it is not possible to provide an estimate for the overall timeframe. Some homes will be declared safe within the next few days others are much more severely affected and may take additional time or may even be declared uninhabitable.

    How do I clean up safely?

    Please check the fact sheets on Waste and Health After a Flood to ensure you understand the requirements for cleaning.

    All equipment or surfaces that have been affected by floodwaters need to be cleaned (e.g. empty refrigerators and cupboards). Hard-surfaced floors, walls, benches and sinks should be thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water and then disinfected by wiping or spraying surfaces with a chlorine bleach solution or a product labelled as a hospital-grade disinfectant. Once disinfected, allow to dry. Always wear gloves and protective clothing and do not touch face or eyes while using disinfectants.

    For further information refer to the Staying healthy during and after floods fact sheet

    What if I don’t have accommodation or need to change accommodation?

    Please call the Disaster Welfare after-hours line 137 788 to arrange accommodation.

    Where do I get help on general flood recovery?

    Residents across the shire recovering from the flood can access the Recovery Hub, located at 57 Elbow St in West Kempsey weekdays between 8:30-4:30pm.

    Teams from Kempsey Shire Council, Services NSW, NSW Health, The Department of Primary Industries and various charities are available under one roof at the Recovery Hub.

  • Roads reopen in Stuarts Point - Evacuation Order Remains in place

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    30 Mar 2021
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    Public safety operations in the Stuarts Point area on the Mid North Coast are ongoing to ensure the safety and welfare support for those residents impacted.

    The Local Emergency Operations Controller (LEOCON) issued an evacuation order at 9.30pm on Friday (26 March 2021), after NSW Heath confirmed a risk of faecal matter and bacteria in the discharge from onsite septic systems impacted by floodwaters.

    The LEOCON declared the zone a dangerous area and issued an evacuation order under Section 60L of the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act.

    Surrounding streets are now dry, Fire and Rescue NSW crews have today prioritised disinfecting roads that were contaminated and all roads have now been opened. The exclusion zone remains around individual properties which have been marked with tape.

    Currently, groundwater continues to be pumped from the affected area. The priority for the Emergency Operations Centre and the LEOCON is to get people back into their homes, however, each property needs to be assessed in terms of a number of criteria.

    All agencies are working together to best determine what will be required to revoke the evacuation orders for individual properties. This assessment includes:

    • Has there been water on the site?
    • Has the home been inundated?
    • Is the home structurally sound?
    • Are the septic systems for the home operational?

    Crews from the relevant agencies, including Fire and Rescue NSW and Kempsey Shire Council, are assessing each property using the above criteria, to develop a remediation plan for each home.

    All property owners are being communicated with and supported by the Department of Communities and Justice (WELFAC) while this process remains ongoing.

    Community Information Sessions – coordinated by the SES – will be conducted tomorrow (Wednesday 31 March 2021) in Stuarts Point and surrounding areas where evacuated residents are being housed.

    These sessions will outline further details around the steps being taken to return people to their homes, the continued issues with significant groundwater and the health advice for managing flood impacts. Times and locations are yet to be determined.

    Any residents requiring urgent assistance or specialist care are advised to contact SES on 132 500.

    In life-threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

  • Stuarts Point Update - Water and safety

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    28 Mar 2021
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    Removing Ground Water From Stuarts Point

    Update as at 4:30 pm Sunday 28 March

    Multiple agencies are involved in addressing the issue of contaminated groundwater in Stuarts Point caused by on-site septic system overflow during the flood emergency.

    • The evacuation of affected properties and ceasing use of the septic systems, combined with falling water levels influence conditions in the impacted area.

    • Under the Emergency Operations declaration, the EPA advised that the mechanical removal of the water would be permitted as an exempt action to protect the community

    • Council’s Environmental Health Officers and EPA have run tests on the ammonia and ecoli levels in the groundwater.

    • Results indicate the levels are lower than treated effluent discharged from sewerage treatment plants.

    • Fire and Rescue NSW, in consultation with the EPA, have worked with Council to commence pumping the groundwater into the existing stormwater system

    • Pumping will remove water faster to a certain depth before natural dissipation allowing property assessment and disinfection to commence

    • Drinking water in Stuarts Point has been tested and remains safe to consume

    Evacuation Order remains in place

    Operations are ongoing to ensure public safety and support the welfare of residents evacuated from homes at Stuarts Point last night.

    The Local Emergency Operations Controller (LEOCON) issued an evacuation order at 9.30pm (Friday 26 March 2021), after NSW Heath confirmed a risk of faecal matter and bacteria in the discharge from onsite septic systems impacted by floodwaters.

    While many residents were able to find private accommodation, about 30 people spent the evening at the Yarrahapinni evacuation centre.

    Local police and the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) have cordoned off affected streets and identified danger areas at nearby crossroads, and there is no general access.

    To reduce the possibility of contamination spread, residents from other parts of the township, who have not been evacuated, are advised they should only drive for essential purposes.

    Vehicles can leave the area via Ocean Avenue but may require decontamination if they have driven through or come into contact with the groundwater.

    Emergency services are working on a case-by-case basis to retrieve essential medications and items that are required from those homes affected by the evacuation order, which is part of the Emergency Management of the Kempsey flooding that has been active since last Thursday (18 March 2021).

    As the water in the township recedes outside of the sewer-impacted footprint, inspections are being carried out and lime treatment applied as a protective measure.

    Kempsey Shire Council and the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) are working with NSW Health to conduct further tests of the groundwater and reviewing options to mechanically speed up the natural drainage in the area.

    Regular updates will be provided but residents are advised the evacuation order is anticipated to remain in place for seven to ten days.

    Any residents requiring urgent assistance or specialist care are advised to contact SES on 132 500.

    In life-threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

  • Evacuation Order in place for Stuarts Point

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    27 Mar 2021
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    The Local Emergency Operations Controller (LEOCON) has issued an evacuation order for residents at Stuarts Point on the state’s Mid North Coast as at 9.30pm Friday 26 March 2021.

    Onsite septic systems have discharged into yards and streets at Stuarts Point, 45km north of Kempsey on the Mid North Coast, due to rises in the groundwater caused by the recent weather event, impacting at least 45 homes.

    NSW Heath has confirmed there is a risk of faecal matter and bacteria in the discharge, resulting in a public health risk to people who may come into contact with the water.

    As a result of the identified public health risk, the LEOCON managing the Kempsey flood situation has declared a danger area and issued an evacuation order under Section 60L of the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act.

    At this time, Ocean, First, Second, Third, Fifth, Seventh and Ninth Avenues are in the declared zone.

    The evacuation operation has commenced and multiple agencies are now in the area to assisting residents to evacuate their homes to a nearby youth camp at Yarrahapinni.

    Emergency services will be doorknocking in the area and residents will be assessed by NSW Health staff for signs or symptoms of illness at the evacuation centre prior to admission.

    Anyone who arranges private accommodation out of the area will be still required to attend the evacuation centre to undergo an assessment and register prior to departure.

    Any vehicles in the affected water are not authorised to move and will be detained.

    Vehicles outside the contaminated area can be moved but occupants must undergo decontamination and evacuation registration prior to departure.

    The need for the evacuation order will be assessed daily, but residents are advised it may last between seven to ten days.

    For emergency help in floods and storms, call the NSW State Emergency Service on 132 500.

    In life threatening situations, call Triple Zero (000) immediately.

  • Safely cleaning your home after a flood

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    26 Mar 2021
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    Kempsey Shire Council has compiled a list of some practical ways to keep you safe when cleaning in and around your house after a flood.


    Household clean-up

    • Wear protective clothing, including boots, gloves and eye protection.
    • Check for snakes and other wildlife that may have taken refuge in your home.
    • Remove all wet items from the house as soon as possible, including carpets, rugs, furniture, bedding and clothing.
    • Use a hose to wash mud and debris from a house, starting at the highest point and moving downwards.
    • Open doors and windows to dry out the interior of the house. You can also use fans if these have not been exposed to floodwater.
    • Wash your hands well after any flood clean-up activities.

    For more information click here

    Cleaning kitchens and food utensils

    It’s important to thoroughly clean and sanitise kitchen items and food utensils that have been exposed to floodwater as it often contains hazardous substances such as sewage.

    • wash utensils in hot, soapy, drinking-quality water
    • sanitise metal items by boiling them in water for 10 minutes
    • throw away items made from wood, plastic, rubber or other porous materials, since it is not possible to adequately sanitise these.

    For more information click here

    Flood-affected food

    Food that’s come into contact with floodwater may be unsafe to eat. This is because floodwater often contains contaminants such as sewage or agricultural and industrial waste.

    • throw out food that has come into contact with floodwater or has an unusual colour, odour or texture
    • inspect canned food and discard cans that are dented, swollen or damaged
    • wash and dry your hands thoroughly with soap using clean, drinking-quality water after handling items that have been in floodwater
    • use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser to clean your hands if you have a limited supply of drinking-quality water.

    For more information click here

    Septic tanks

    If your property was flooded, your septic tank system (or onsite wastewater system) may have been damaged.

    Signs your system may be damaged include:

    • a pungent odour
    • high sludge levels in the primary tank
    • blocked fixtures and wastewater overflowing from the relief point
    • sewage flowing up through the toilet and sinks.

    If you suspect your system is damaged, you should arrange for a licensed plumber to assess its condition.

    For more information click here

    Rainwater tanks

    If your property has been affected by flooding, you may be wondering about the condition of your rainwater tank.

    It is not usually necessary to empty a tank unless it has been inundated by flood water.

    For advice on maintaining or disinfecting your rainwater tank, click here

    Cleaning up a swimming pool

    There are several steps you should take to make sure your pool is safe for use after a flood.

    • Engage a licensed electrician to check electrical components such as the pump.
    • Arrange for pool fences that have been damaged or washed away to be rebuilt or repaired.
    • Check the pool environment for hazards such as snakes and debris such as wire.
    • Avoid immediately pumping the water out of the pool, as this could worsen structural damage or expose hazardous material that has been washed into the pool.
    • Check the pool regularly to ensure it doesn’t become a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
    • Avoid turning on the filter to clean dirty pool water; instead, consult a pool shop for advice on how to ‘flocculate’ and restore the water.

    For more information click here

    Home vegetable gardens

    If your property has been flooded, your vegetable garden may have been contaminated with sewage and other hazardous substances.

    It is advisable not to harvest vegetables or herbs for at least a month after flooding. You should also discard all leafy green vegetables.

    After one month, vegetables can be sanitised in a weak bleach solution (1 tablespoon bleach to 2 litres of water) and then washed before use.

    For more information click here

  • Recovering after a natural disaster

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    24 Mar 2021
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    The immediate danger of the floods has passed and now comes the time to focus on recovery.

    This natural disaster has impacted everyone across the Kempsey Shire and it will take some time for our community to bounce back. Assistance is available to help people and businesses recover from this terrible event.

    Please see the following list of support services available:

    Council has a dedicated Recovery Team who are working with emergency services, State and Federal government agencies, charities, and other organisations. Our Recovery Team can be contacted during office hours on 6566 3200.

    After such a stressful and traumatic event it is crucial to take care of ourselves and one another. If the impact of the flood is getting to you, Lifeline is here to listen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or text 0477 13 11 14.

    For more information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88.

    To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au

    Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and Service NSW at https://disasterassistance.service.nsw.gov.au/

    The NSW Department of Primary Industries and Local Land Services are working together to manage the effects of the flood event on agriculture, livestock and our community as Agriculture and Animal Services Functional Area (AASFA). They can help with emergency fodder, veterinary assistance, stock destruction and burial and livestock feeding and management advice.
    The AASFA has a dedicated hotline for producers to call to report damage and stock losses, as well as request assistance. Call 1800 814 647.
  • Financial help available to residents

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    24 Mar 2021
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    The floodwaters are receding and now the clean-up begins. During the flood, many people across the Kempsey Shire experienced damage and loss to properties and livestock. Council recognises that the financial cost of recovering from this flood disaster will be significant.

    To find out what financial assistance is available call Service NSW's Disaster Customer Care Service on 13 77 88 or visit their website, Disaster relief for individuals and families.

  • Kempsey Flood declared a national disaster

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    21 Mar 2021
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    The Federal and NSW governments have declared the Kempsey floods a National Disaster which means recovery assistance is available for Kempsey.

    Disaster recovery assistance is now available in Armidale, Bellingen, the Central Coast, Cessnock City, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour City, Dungog, Kempsey, Lake Macquarie, Maitland City, Mid-Coast, Nambucca Valley, Newcastle City, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Port Stephens, and Tenterfield local government areas following severe storms and floods from 10 March 2021 onwards.

    Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

    Assistance available under the DRFA may include:

    • Help for eligible people whose homes or belongings have been damaged
    • Support for affected local councils to help with the costs of cleaning up and restoring damaged essential public assets
    • Concessional interest rate loans for small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations
    • Freight subsidies for primary producers, and
    • Grants to eligible non-profit organisations

    For more information on personal hardship and distress assistance, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88. To apply for a concessional loan or grant, contact the NSW Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593 or visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au

    Further information on disaster assistance is available on the Australian Government’s Disaster Assist website at www.disasterassist.gov.au and Service NSW at https://disasterassistance.service.nsw.gov.au/