Supplies sent to flooded community

Peter de KruijffThe Kimberley Echo
The water level at the Fitzroy River yesterday.
Camera IconThe water level at the Fitzroy River yesterday. Credit: WA Police

Provisions were flown to the Ngallagunda community on Monday on a plane contracted by emergency services.

The remote locale is in the heart of the Kimberley at Gibb River Station, 330km from Kununurra and has a population of about 60.

In January, the area received 417.8mm of rainfall and has had more than 30mm this month.

The community is cut off by road and a request came through last week, asking for assistance from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services with food running low.

Gibb River Road is closed during the wet season.

DFES Kimberley regional duty co-ordinator Glenn Hall said the level of similar requests had been consistently low in the past few wet seasons.

“This year’s wetter than the last few we’ve had,” he said.

“That said, this is probably the third request all up.

“What that tells us is the level of preparedness for the (remote) communities is good and they’ve got procedures in place if they do get low on supplies.”

Mr Hall said with so much rain this wet season, DFES had been preparing for an increase in resupply requests.

“We’ve had nine weeks consistently of flood warnings,” he said.

“Again, with that sustained isolation, it may get to the point where communities which don’t have the means to resupply themselves may come to us for assistance.

“Whether that eventuates is another question.”

DFES pays for the aircraft in supply drops, but communities take on the cost of the supplies.

The provisions were flown from Derby aerodrome to the airstrip in Gibb.

Rain has impacted remote communities elsewhere in WA, with emergency food supplies flown to Tjuntjuntjara in the Goldfields last week when the community reportedly got down to four days worth of food.

Drops have also been organised for Balgo in the Kimberley and the Pilbara’s Kiwirrkurra and Purnngurr communities.

DFES expects moderate flooding in the town of Fitzroy Crossing today and tomorrow.

Roads have been closed including the Great Northern Highway in both directions from the Derby Highway Intersection to Halls Creek.

Floodways east of Fitzroy Crossing are expected to stay closed over the next 24 hours.

The section of the Fitzroy River which runs by the town is at 12.09m which is marginally below major flood levels of 12.5m.

The river could peak at 12.3m this afternoon.

Stay up to date with warnings at emergency.wa.gov.au.

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