Canberra, May 13 (IANS) In the wake of continued heavy rain, the government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) on Friday announced the setting up new temporary accommodation sites for flood-affected communities.
The NSW government has opened up nine sites for modular “pod” homes in the Northern Rivers region north of Sydney, which will provide 800 temporary units, reports Xinhua news agency.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the immediate measures were a short-term solution to help those who had no way of safely getting back to their own homes.
“In the first instance we want to be able to get as many people as possible safely back into their own homes but we know for many people this is simply not an option,” Toole said on Friday.
The latest floods came off the back of devastating flooding that inundated large parts of NSW and its northern neighbour state, Queensland, across February and March.
The record rainfall, dubbed by weather experts as a “one in a thousand year” event, has been in part attributed to the La Nina climate pattern faced by Australia.
The initial flooding has already prompted 197,000 insurance claims running up an estimated A$3.35 billion ($2.3 billion), making it the costliest flood in Australia’s history, according to data provided by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).
NSW Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said the NSW government will continue to work to house those affected.
“Housing remains one of the most pressing needs for people in flood-affected communities and is why we’re using all of the resources at our disposal to get people the help they need now and in the months to come.”
The unrelenting floods have amplified calls for climate action.
Climate change advocacy non-profit, the Climate Council of Australia, released a statement on Friday that said the back-to-back devastating weather was a direct result of climate change’s impact on Australia.
“With climate change increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather disasters, there is greater chance of these devastating events happening in rapid succession, with little time for communities to recover,” said Climate Council Head of Research Simon Bradshaw.
“Any government that is serious about protecting Australian communities from worsening disasters must ensure that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions plummet this decade.”