Disaster Assistance on it's Way

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The Federal and NSW Governments have declared 10 Local Government Areas in northern NSW natural disaster zones following this week’s flooding.
Those areas cover Nambucca in the south to the Tweed Valley in the north and include Bellingen, Coffs Harbour, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore City, Ballina and the Richmond Valley shires.
The heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding has damaged crops and infrastructure, inundated pastures and left livestock isolated, but farmers are waiting for waters to recede before a complete assessment can be done.
The State Emergency Service (SES) says 26,000 people are isolated by flooding in NSW.
The main area of concern is the Clarence Valley downstream of Grafton.
The flooding is the highest since records began in 1839, according the Phil Campbell from the SES.
“That will mean extended isolation for people in those areas. Most people will the out within two to three days, but some may be isolated for up to a week or more.”
The majority of the Madden dairy farm at Southgate, between Grafton and Maclean, on the Clarence is covered in water.
Rod Madden says he’s also lost power and can’t milk the 400-cow herd.
“Surrounded by water. We probably came within five millimetres of getting water into the dairy, but the main thing is that all the stock and everything is up on concrete and they’re locked up so they’re all okay,” he said.
“So it’s just a matter of waiting until the water goes down and seeing what the damage is and pick yourself up and go again.”
People are also isolated along the Richmond and Tweed Rivers, in the Tweed hinterland and in areas around Maitland in the Hunter Valley.
Others are isolated at Boggabilla on the MacIntyre River in the state’s north-west, by flood water coming down from Queensland.
Many on the north and mid-north coast are still without power.
Essential Energy says 5,800 customers are without supply.
There are 325 crew members working on those problems, caused mainly by trees over wires.
Customers can call the company on 13 20 80.
People in flooded areas can call 13 27 01 or go to livetraffic.com.au for information about road closures.
Primary producers affected by the disaster will have access to low interest loans of up to $130,000, with the current rate at 1.69 per cent.
The NSW Rural Assistance Authority will administer the loans and can be contacted on 1800 678 593 or http://www.raa.nsw.gov.au/
There are also transport subsidies available of up to 50 per cent and available by contacting the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 1800 814 617

Source: ABC News

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