24.9°C 03:00 pm

SES crew heads north to help flooded town

Thursday, 16th June, 2011

RISING RIVER: Road signs stand partially submerged in Kempsey on the Macleay River yesterday. RISING RIVER: Road signs stand partially submerged in Kempsey on the Macleay River yesterday.

Five local State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers are expected to arrive in Kempsey this morning to help fix the damage caused by storms and floods.

Local SES Controller Ben Kelly said the volunteers will be on a seven-day deployment to assist with tasks such as patching roofs and getting water out of flooded homes.

Mr Kelly said he admired the volunteers for giving up their time to help residents of the mid north coast town, despite family and work commitments.

"They put everything on hold to go and help other people," he said.

Wild storms have pounded the region over the last three days.

As much as 78mm of rain fell in Kempsey in the 24 hours to 10am yesterday, while 276mm of rain had been dumped at nearby Bellbrook since Sunday.

Last night mass evacuations were underway and NSW Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher said more than 300 SES workers were helping people in flood and storm-hit towns across the region.

They have responded to more than 1000 calls for emergency assistance from residents over the past three days, he added.

"These calls have included assistance with evacuations, medical emergencies, water inundation and storm damage including leaking roofs and fallen trees," the minister said.

Severe weather warnings remain in place in the NSW Hunter region and on the north coast.

Towns that have already copped a drenching include Turner's Flat and Aldavilla.

About 700 residents from Smithtown, Jerseyville, Gladstone and Kinchella were ordered to evacuate by yesterday morning.

The RTA has warned motorists to avoid all travel on the Pacific Highway between Port Macquarie and Nambucca Heads, while the Pacific Highway is closed at Kempsey. BDT/AAP

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