• The town of Moree in northern New South Wales was split in two by overflowing waters of the Mehi River in March 2021. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
The Moree Boomerangs football club, Miyay Birray Youth Service fathers group and the Soapy Rowe cricket club are just a few community groups that have been out safely assisting flood-affected residents.
By
Shahni Wellington

Source:
NITV News
25 Mar 2021 - 3:41 PM  UPDATED 25 Mar 2021 - 3:41 PM

Aboriginal community members are among those isolated and affected in Moree by rising flood waters.

The northern New South Wales town has been cut in half, after the local Mehi River peaked at more than 10 metres on Thursday morning.

Emergency authorities issued an evacuation order earlier this week for those in low-lying properties, forcing more than four hundred people to flee their homes.

With First Nations people making up around 20 per cent of the region's population, local Wiradjuri and Gomaroi youth worker Glen Crump said work is being done to make sure they are safe. 

"Where the majority of Aboriginal people live in our community now, the town's been cut in half," Mr Crump explained to NITV News.

"So it's been quite worrying for a lot of people rushing around to get supplies and other things, but the communities all pulled together and worked together." 

As the town deals with the worst flooding event in nearly a decade, the extent of the damage is still being assessed by emergency services. 

Major flooding warnings are still current in the area along the Mehi River and also the Gwydir River at Yarraman.

Despite the long recovery ahead, Glen Crump, described the community response during the adversity as a feeling of unity. 

"The Moree Boomerangs Rugby League Football Club, the Soapy Rowe Cricket Club, the Moree Sports Health Arts and Education Academy, Miyay Birray Youth Service fathers group, all got together early in the piece when we knew that it was going to be bad for our communities.

"(We) put up our hands to go and help sandbag and also deliver the sandbags to our elders and all the mob and all the organisations to make sure that they're protected for when it was hit going to hit today," Mr Crump said. 

Complacency is a concern

The forecast for the week ahead in Moree is described as mostly sunny by the Bureau of Meteorology.

In a press conference on Thursday, New South Wales Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, warned about underestimating the impacts of the natural disaster. 

"Complacency is a concern for us, we need to make sure that everybody stays out of floodwaters," she said.

"The currents are very strong, the flows are still very strong, and unpredictable flows will continue to occur in communities which haven't seen this amount of rainfall for up to 50 or a hundred years."

Across the state, easing conditions have allowed 3000 people to return to their homes, but around 20,000 are still technically evacuated.

The Australian Defence Force has also joined the flood relief effort in New South Wales, with 290 personnel deployed to hard-hit areas.