First River Murray relief centre to open with flooding set to inundate homes

Latest forecasts show River Murray flooding is likely to leave about 400 families homeless, with the first of three emergency relief centres expected to open in Berri tomorrow.

Nov 28, 2022, updated Nov 28, 2022
River Murray water is flooding buildings at Swan Reach. Photo: Graham Nuske/Facebook

River Murray water is flooding buildings at Swan Reach. Photo: Graham Nuske/Facebook

High flows are likely to inundate 3600 to 4000 properties throughout the state according to latest data, with South Australia’s State Emergency Chief Chris Beattie saying about 400 of those are now being identified as primary residences.

A limited number of short-term emergency accommodation places at hotels have been identified but residents threatened by flooding who have their own caravans or camper trailers are being urged to safely move to caravan parks.

Beattie also said during a flood update in Mannum on the River Murray today that 65 local roads were now closed across the state as high water either flooded access or made driving along them dangerous.

“We will see more small pockets of communities more isolated as water continues to rise,” Beattie said.

SA Power Networks has disconnected power from about 700 homes with about another 700 customers to lose power to homes, businesses, pumps and sheds in the next five to seven days.

River Murray water is now flooding a playground on Loxton waterfront. Photo: Facebook/Karen Werner

Beattie said urgent work is continuing to build levees and place sandbags around homes and businesses. The extensive levee being built in Mannum was expected to be completed by December 12 with peak flows arriving soon after.

Other levees are being built rapidly in the Riverland at Lake Bonney at Barmera and to protect the holiday park on the waterfront in Waikerie.

Premier Peter Malinauskas announced today that the Berri relief centre opening at the Berri Senior Citizens Club at 12 Crawford Terrace tomorrow would be followed by another centre opening in Mannum by the end of this week and then another at Murray Bridge.

The centres would be serviced by government agency staff providing information about $51.6 million in funding relief for those affected by rising River Murray waters along with housing, mental health support, foodbank, financial counselling, legal and support services like Red Cross.

“Sometimes as much information as we can provide on a website will never replicate what you can say face to face,” Malinauskas said.

He said hundreds would lose their primary homes in the flood water and it was difficult to make decisions to build levees in some areas, like the one in Mannum that actively protects some houses and businesses, while others will be inundated.

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“We will pretty soon see the full devastation that’s going to be put on full display by Mother Nature,” he said.

He was in Mannum today with Treasurer Stephen Mullighan and Deputy Premier Susan Close and has plans to travel to the Riverland again on Friday.

Human Services Minister Nat Cook said the Emergency Relief Centre would particularly help those whose main residence or their business is affected by floods.

“We know how stressful this situation is for the Riverland community and we are providing support and assistance while people remain unable to return home,” she said.

“A limited number of short-term emergency accommodation options have been identified.

“Hotels will be used for immediate accommodation needs, but which hotels will be used will depend on where the floodwaters reach, and room availability.”

She urged those with their own caravan or camper trailer to find their own caravan park in the first instance.

Residents, business owners and primary producers wanting to access the State Government’s $51.6 million initial financial assistance package for River Murray communities can get support at the Berri emergency relief centre.

Services available include:

  • Accommodation assistance
  • Red Cross
  • Disaster and Recovery Ministries
  • Foodbank
  • Financial assistance
  • Community outreach
  • Connection to other Community Service Organisations
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