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Top End community caught-out by early rains

Carmen Brown, Tuesday December 31, 2013 - 17:57 EDT
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The Wilton River near Ngukurr becomes impassable during the wet-season - ABC

While many Territorians are bracing themselves for sweltering hot conditions this week, others have found themselves isolated by rising river levels.

The remote Indigenous community of Ngukurr, 330 kilometres south-east of Katherine, is no longer accessible by road, after the Wilton and Roper River crossings became impassable yesterday.

Shire services manager, Paul Amarant, says while locals expect to be isolated during the wet-season, early rains have caught some people by surprise this year.

"We were cut-off for about three weeks early in the wet-season, and since then the river has gone up and down three times," he said.

"It just came up again yesterday, it went up to 0.6 metres over the crossing.

"That does make it difficult, we can't get the food for the shops coming in, we can't get contractors coming in to do necessary repairs and maintenance.

"At the start of the wet-season we were caught off-guard, there was nothing in the shop for a good week or so, and people had to ration themselves out a little bit."

Mr Amarant says visitors to the community have also become stranded by the floodwaters.

"Quite a few people were caught-out, especially contractors that come out into the community to do work," he said.

"They come out expecting to be here only a day or two, but when the rivers go up it takes a good week or so sometimes for them to go back down.

"So those people are pretty desperate to get out, they have no long-term living arrangements."


© ABC 2013

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