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Media Release

DFES urges caution after widespread flooding
Friday 17 February 2017 – 9:45 AM

In the wake of widespread flooding across Western Australia, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) is urging the community to remain cautious of dangerous conditions. 

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson said floodways and river levels may still rise rapidly and move quickly so it is vitally important that members of the community take care.

“People need to obey road closure signs, take care on gravel and unsealed roads, and not drive into water of unknown depth and current,” Commissioner Gregson said.

“Driving through flood water is very dangerous as just a small amount can wash you and your vehicle away - it is simply not worth the risk.

“With rivers moving quickly people should also avoid walking, swimming or playing in floodwater.”

Moderate flooding is expected to continue throughout the Kimberley region and in parts of the Avon River catchment in the coming days, and the Blackwood River catchment in the southern part of the State is also continuing to rise.

Over the past week, DFES has worked tirelessly to manage the impact of the floods, deemed a natural disaster across most of the State.

State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers and DFES have responded to more than 450 requests for assistance from members of the community for flood and storm related damage.

A number of rescues have also been undertaken, including 15 people who were caught in floods outside of Ravensthorpe after the Phillips River Bridge was washed away.

Deliveries of groceries and supplies have been organised for remote Aboriginal communities including Tjuntjuntjara in the Goldfields Midlands, Ngallagunda and Balgo in the Kimberley, and Kiwirrkurra and Purnngurr in the Pilbara.

DFES has been working closely with local governments and other agencies, including the Shire of Boyup Brook in order to minimise the impact on those attending an upcoming music festival.

Commissioner Gregson said he strongly encourages the WA community to stay up to date with flood conditions by visiting the Emergency WA website.

“In the past week, we’ve had a record number of people seeking emergency information, with more than one million views to the new website,” he said.

“Though for some the sun may be shining again, it’s important to keep yourself informed of the situation in your area.”

 END

Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9225 5955. ​

 

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