Emergency declared in Daguragu and Kalkrindji

Mar 1, 2023

An emergency has been declared for Daguragu and Kalkarindji as floodwater levels continue to rise to record levels across the region.
Daguragu residents were helicoptered to the official evacuation point (Kalkaringi School) in Kalkarindji on Wednesday morning.

Severe flooding across parts of Kalkarindji – reaching up to 17 metres – has also forced residents to leave their homes.

Residents have been advised to stay at the school until a larger evacuation to Darwin is carried out later this afternoon.

Elderly and vulnerable community members were evacuated to Katherine earlier this morning.

The Victoria Daly Regional Council office has closed, and staff have been sent home.

The Northern Territory Government’s Emergency Services department are currently actioning the Kalkarindji Local Emergency Plan.

Victoria Daly Regional Council Mayor, B. Pedwell, said it was extremely disappointing faster action had not been taken by Emergency Services to protect Daguragu and Kalkarindji residents.

“If the Northern Territory Government had acted immediately, residents would have been able to be evacuated from the community earlier, before the situation got completely out of hand,” Mayor Pedwell said.

“Why haven’t they learnt lessons from the very recent disaster in Timber Creek? Early action is needed to mitigate such disasters, and instead, everyone waited around until it got to an absolute crisis point.”

“We have spent a long time advocating for the installation of gauge markers in Kalkarindji and Daguragu so that water levels can be tracked. We are now seeing the ramifications of this inaction.”

Immediate action must also be taken for neighbouring communities

Mayor Pedwell also expressed concern for neighbouring communities of Pigeonhole, Yarralin and Timber Creek, community’s extremely prone to flooding in the wet season.

Pigeonhole residents have now all been evacuated to the town’s emergency shelter, located above floodwater levels and are awaiting evacuation to Darwin. Yarralin residents are now also on high alert for evacuation.

“It’s a ripple effect…all of that water that has flooded out Daguragu is heading to other parts of the region, and within no time at all, houses – especially in Pigeonhole – will be underwater,” he said.

“An emergency must also be declared in these communities so that appropriate action can be taken before it’s too late.”

Council has advocated for the relocation of houses in Pigeonhole for a number of years now.

Houses in the small community are directly in the flood zone, with residents forced to evacuate most years until safe to return home.

Local voices being silenced

Mayor Pedwell said that one of the most frustrating parts of the Emergency Response from the Northern Territory Government was the fact local decision makers were not being listened to.

“The voices of local decision makers are not being listened to when it comes to natural disasters, and that has to change,” Mayor Pedwell said.

“We are the people that live on Country and have first-hand knowledge of what’s going on. Why aren’t they listening?”

Flood Safety Advice:

The Northern Territory Emergency Service advises that people should:

  • Stay away from flooded drains, rivers, streams and waterways.
  • Prepare for flooding and move away while safe to do so.
  • Don’t drive into floodwaters.

For emergency help in floods, storms and cyclones call 132 500.

Emergency information is available at www.securent.nt.gov.au .

The latest road conditions are available at www.roadreport.nt.gov.au .