Water recedes, as Gallacher warns of extensive flood damage

NSW face a costly clean-up bill from severe flooding, as receding waters reveal extensive damage

By Brad Gardner | June 21, 2011

NSW will begin counting the cost of severe floods that tore through the state’s mid north coast last week, with receding water levels revealing extensive damage.

Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher, who last Friday toured flood-stricken regions, has declared another four local government areas disaster zones, bringing the tally to 18.

He says the rain, which brought with it winds of up to 100km/h, has impacted council gravel roads and bridges. Sections of the Pacific Highway were closed, but Gallacher says the inclement weather has been particularly hard on the New England Highway.

"The New England Highway has suffered significant deterioration from the rain and flooding and from the vastly increased volume of traffic diverted from the Pacific Highway," he says.

"The improved weather across the region over the past few days has been a very welcome relief, but as the water recedes it reveals the true extent of the damage.

"I have continued to monitor the situation since Friday, and although the weather has settled there remains an enormous damage bill and the clean-up efforts that have now commenced are extensive and in many cases costly."

The new areas declared disaster zones are Singleton, Walcha, Armidale-Dumaresq and Guyra, making available financial support to residents directly affected by the floods.

Gallacher says emergency service crews responded to about 1,600 requests for help. Rising water forced the evacuation of some homes and businesses, while towns were cut off for days.

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