The NSW SES March 2021 Flood Forums continue this week after good community representation at the Port Macquarie Northside and Manning Point meetings last week.
The aim of the SES forums is to give people an opportunity to talk about the recent floods and to identify ways SES and local communities can work together to improve flood preparedness, response and transition to recovery.
On Wednesday, May 19 the NSW SES will conduct the Camden Haven Flood Forum starting at 7pm at the Laurieton Services Club and on Thursday, May 20 the Lower Macleay Flood Forum will be held at the Smithtown Bowling Club also starting at 7pm
The SES Northside flood forum was attended by 28 people from North Shore, Riverside and Maria River Road areas.
At Manning Point 66 people participated in the SES flood forum with residents from Mitchells Island and Oxley Island also present.
The forums worked through three key questions about what was good about the SES and community preparation for, response to and transition to recovery from the March event, what can be improved and suggestions for the next flood.
The main concerns at both forums included difficulties in accessing the right information specific to the local situation, disruption to telecommunication services, the need for more specific evacuation information, information from river gauges, more support for people who have animals but are not primary producers and the lack of knowledge about warnings and key river heights.
The forums also identified a range of community strengths that emerged during the event including the sharing of local information about road conditions, weather, rainfall and where to get help once communities were isolated, checking on and working with neighbours, local knowledge of who in the community required help first, community volunteers helping with flood clean up, SES community liaison campaign after impact, Northside community hub that conducted briefings and coordinated the distribution of resupplied essentials and community leadership of the Manning Point Bowling Club in relocating and helping to accommodate residents.
Suggestions to improve flood arrangements put forward at the forums included possible closer integration of SES and council flood information, community emergency equipment caches/shipping container, consolidation of local social media platforms to share flood information, identifying high areas to relocate vehicles, generators and home emergency kits for residents and for the SES to conduct "Get Ready" storm and flood education workshops.
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