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Friday, September 30, 2016

SA Weather: Whyalla residents angry after failing to get blackout relief grants

SA Weather: Whyalla residents angry after failing to get blackout relief grants By Nick Harmsen Updated 56 minutes ago Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis at the Whyalla relief centre. Photo: Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis asks for patience as the power outage is investigated. (ABC News: Dean Faulkner) Related Story: Virginia, Port Wakefield under threat as rivers burst banks Related Story: Power 'gradually' returning after SA plunged into darkness Map: Whyalla 5600 South Australia Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has been confronted by angry people at a relief centre in Whyalla, some who have been waiting two days to apply for emergency grants. Key points: •State Government announced three emergency relief grants for people affected by severe weather •Tom Koutsantonis says it will take a long time to "assess everyone individually" •One resident says she cannot afford to wait up to 10 days for relief A number of people left the centre this morning frustrated they were not eligible for the $700 payments, despite losing fridges full of food during a more than 24-hour blackout. "I'm bloody angry. Write that down," one man told the ABC in the car park of the hockey club. The entire state lost power on Wednesday after storms knocked out transmission towers. The State Government has announced three emergency relief grants for people who have been affected with the severe weather and floods. To be eligible for the loss-of-power grant, a household must have been continuously without power from 3:50pm Wednesday to at least 12:00pm on Thursday, suffered hardship and were unable to meet essential needs like food, clothing or accommodation. "I came here yesterday and it was a raffle ticket system because they were flat out in here for the services they were offering," local resident Lisa Forbes said as she waited inside the building. "They told me to come back at eight o'clock this morning and I've been here since eight o'clock and I'm still waiting to be assessed and seen. "We've lost our power, we've lost our assets, I've lost my fridge, I've lost food, I've had to borrow money which I've had to pay back, and now I'm chasing an emergency relief [grant] because I don't have money to survive for the full fortnight with my children." 'We need relief now' With the town's major employer Arrium in the midst of a financial crisis, Mr Koutsantonis said Whyalla's welfare needs have been only amplified by the blackout. The path leading up to a relief centre in Whyalla Photo: A number of people have left a relief centre in Whyalla frustrated they were not eligible for emergency grants. (ABC News: Nicholas Harmsen) "It's a tough room," he told the ABC, after speaking to some of the people waiting. "There's a lot of crossover. A lot of people here in Whyalla have got a lot of issues trying to get access to money. "Some people have got pre-existing conditions, they're looking for assistance. That's completely understandable. But we've got to assess everyone individually. It takes a long time." Mr Koutsantonis said there was strict criteria for access to the grants to ensure the money went to those most in need. He said those who have lost food may be eligible for compensation from electricity companies. But that will not be established until the cause of the blackout has been thoroughly investigated. "It's cold comfort to people now who are trying to restock their fridges. But what we're asking for is patience, keeping a good list of what they've had in their fridges, what they've lost," Mr Koutsantonis said. "And once we've assessed what exactly caused this and whether the time to reconnect was appropriate, there could be compensation payments available to people." But Ms Forbes said: "We can't wait up to 10 days for relief." "We need relief now as families. I've got to feed my children." Topics: floods, disasters-and-accidents, whyalla-5600, sa ======================== SA weather: Buckland Park market gardener loses next crop to flood Posted 40 minutes ago Victorian CFA volunteers sandbagging. Photo: The Nguyen family's dog laps up the attention while Victorian CFA volunteers sandbag close by. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) Related Story: SA conditions ease overnight; towns bracing for more rain Map: Buckland Park 5120 The floodwaters appeared shallow and slow moving at Buckland Park on Sunday but they were cutting a wide path of destruction across the semi-rural suburb, north of Adelaide. Nervous growers were watching the floodwaters as they crept into crops and towards homes. Market garden is under water at Buckland Park. Photo: The Nguyen family's market garden had been prepared for plantings but it is too wet now. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) The Nguyen family, from Buckland Park, has estimated it has lost about $300,000 because they will not be about to plant their next crop of capsicums in several large greenhouses. Country Fire Authority (CFA) units from Victoria arrived with sandbags to help save the family's house. The weather bureau has warned South Australians more rain is forecast to fall from Sunday afternoon into Tuesday. Nearby the Tsinivits family is building their own earth break to stop the water from entering their home. Kyriakos Tsinivits said it had been a busy morning sandbagging and watching flood levels online. "We are trying to sandbag around our house," he said. "Water came in pretty quickly earlier. It is kind of steady now but it's a pretty busy morning." He said he was surprised how quickly the water level changed this morning. Aerial photo showing flooding into rural properties at Virginia. Photo: Flooding over the Port Wakefield Highway at Virginia, near Buckland Park. (Twitter: SA SES) CFA volunteers sandbag a house. Photo: CFA volunteers help save the Nguyen's house at Buckland Park. (ABC News: Tom Fedorowytsch) ========================== Moderate Flood Warning for the Onkaparinga River Issued at 11:25 am CDT on Monday 3 October 2016 Flood Warning Number: 2 River levels in the Upper Onkaparinga River catchment have risen and moderate flood levels have been reached on Monday morning. Upper Onkaparinga River above Verdun: Moderate flooding is occurring along the Upper Onkaparinga River above Verdun. The Onkaparinga River at Woodside is currently at 2.47 metres and rising. The Onkaparinga River at Woodside will exceed the moderate flood level (2.40 m) late Monday morning. The Onkaparinga River at Oakbank is currently at 2.29 metres and rising. The Onkaparinga River at Oakbank will remain above the minor flood level (2.10 m) Monday afternoon. Middle Onkaparinga River between Verdun and Mt Bold Reservoir: Minor flooding is expected along the Middle Onkaparinga River between Verdun and Mt Bold Reservoir. The Onkaparinga River at Verdun is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.00 m) Monday afternoon. Flood Safety Advice: People are advised to keep away from fast flowing water and not drive through it. For emergency assistance please call the SES on 132 500. Next Issue: The next warning will be issued by 03:30 pm CDT on Monday 03 October 2016. Latest River Heights: Location Height of River (m) Tendency Date/Time of Observation Onkaparinga River at Charleston 2.88 Steady 11:19 AM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Woodside 2.47 Rising 11:18 AM MON 03/10/16 Western Branch at Tiers Road 2.02 Falling 11:19 AM MON 03/10/16 Lenswood Creek at Swamp Road 1.61 Steady 11:20 AM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Oakbank 2.29 Rising 11:20 AM MON 03/10/16 Aldgate Creek at Aldgate 0.83 Steady 11:12 AM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Clarendon Weir 10.41 Steady 12:20 PM MON 03/10/16 Onkaparinga River at Old Noarlunga 2.40 Steady 11:20 AM MON 03/10/16 This advice is also available by dialling 1300 659 215 . Warning, rainfall and river information are available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/flood. The latest weather forecast is available at www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts.

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