Currently — January 9th, 2023
What you need to know, currently.
Western Australia’s worst flooding on record continues to spread across Fitzroy Valley and the country’s north-west.
The flooding, which was sparked by heavy rainfall from ex-tropical cyclone Ellie last week, has left houses in the Kimberley region, in which the population is almost 40% Aboriginal, uninhabitable. Hundred of people have been displaced. The flood waters have also shut down main access routes in Kimberley, making it difficult for those hardest hit to receive food and medical supplies.
The town of Fitzroy Crossing, a community of around 1,300 people and about 60% Aboriginal, is one of the worst hit, with supplies being airlifted in.
Western Australian residents have noted that the extreme weather event has been worse by the lack of communication with First Nation peoples.
“In a place with 80-90% Aboriginal people, you would expect that they would convene talks with Aboriginal leaders to let them know what they are doing, but it’s practically nonexistent, it’s a total disregard,” Joe Ross, a resident of Fitzroy Crossing, told Guardian Australia.
On Saturday, Australian Defence Force aircraft were used to assist flood-hit communities, while Chinook helicopters were en route to help relocate residents, according to authorities.
As of Sunday, rain is easing and the storm is shifting eastwards to the Northern Territory, though this “record-breaking major flooding” will continue in the Kimberley, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
“Many roads are impassable and many communities are now isolated,” the forecaster said on its website.
This emergency comes after frequent flooding in Australia over the last two years, as a result of a multi-year La Niña event.
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