Seeing the impact of the floods around Fitzroy Crossing.
Seeing the impact of the floods around Fitzroy Crossing.

Supporting the flood affected Kimberley

The Governor was in the Kimberley this week, where he visited some of the communities impacted by the floods and those involved in response and recovery efforts.

The Incident Management Team based out of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Kimberley Regional Office and Operations Centre provided a briefing of the current situation, the successes, and the challenges they’re working hard to overcome.

While floods in some of these areas aren’t unusual, at the peak of this flood the Fitzroy River reached approximately 15.8m, which is 1.8m higher than previous records.

The DFES coordinated response effort has been massive, with aircraft relocating more than 830 people by air, and delivering more than 10,000kg of essential goods to isolated communities.

Numerous State Government agencies have also been heavily involved including Department of Communities, WA Police Force, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Clean-up crews consisting of both DFES volunteer and career personnel are doing an amazing job washing out properties, but as the water resides and the cleanup continues, mould is becoming a problem, with many residents still unable to return home. So far, 33 properties have been deemed uninhabitable due to flood damage.

The Australian Defence Force has also played a significant role, with the movement of 14,000 people across 400 repatriation missions, and the moving of 1,000,000 pounds of total payload/cargo including essential food, equipment, fodder to pastoral stations and vehicles.

On the ground in Fitzroy Crossing the Governor was welcomed to country by local elder Aunty Mary Aitkin and heard firsthand from local leaders how damage to homes, businesses, roadways and bridge is impacting on the local community.

He also heard stories of resilience and unity of local people with everyone working together. Local voices are being heard through community led communication and consultation, ensuring the needs of those impacted are being addressed. The community are tired and there’s still a long road ahead, but they have the spirit and determination needed to overcome this challenge.

Flying over the Fitzroy River the Governor saw the extent of the destruction caused by the flood including the destroyed Fitzroy Crossing Bridge, submerged and damaged roads, isolated and flooded properties.

The impact is enormous, but the community see the clean up as opportunity to train and upskill their local young people, providing them with skills they can use into the future.

Stopping in at Halls Creek, the Governor met with the Shire President and local councillors, discussing a range of topics including housing shortages, and the work they’re doing to engage with young people in the community.

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