Heavy rain is hindering storm recovery operations in Kiama, and the wet weather is expected to continue into the weekend.
SES Illawarra spokeswoman Alex McFadden said although all requests for assistance relating to last Sunday’s severe weather conditions had been completed, she expected the wild weather to bring more calls this weekend.
‘‘We’re now coming to the end of the emergency response and moving into the recovery stage,’’ Ms McFadden said.
‘‘We have answered all requests for assistance, but the crews are ready, as always, if anyone needs assistance.
‘‘The nasty weather is set to continue throughout the weekend, but our volunteers are very experienced at working in the rain – that’s our working environment most of the time.’’
Residents of the worst-affected streets, including Minnamurra and Hothersal streets, continue their clean-up after the ‘‘family’’ of four tornadoes hit the town about 3am last Sunday.
A number of streets were evacuated due to asbestos concerns, but police and hazardous materials crews stabilised the threat and residents were allowed to return to their homes late Wednesday.
However, 21 homes in Kiama – and 27 across the South Coast – have been deemed ‘‘uninhabitable’’ due to structural damage or the asbestos threat.
‘‘Council is now working with residents to ensure they’re able to move back into their homes as soon as possible,’’ Ms McFadden said.
‘‘Council and Fire and Rescue NSW are working together on any other asbestos issues that come to light.’’
Lake Illawarra Police commander Wayne Starling said, although the emergency operations centre set up to deal with the disaster had been shut down, authorities were still working closely together.
He said Kiama Council had appointed a disaster recovery information officer, Michael Innes, and he urged those in need of assistance or information to contact Mr Innes on 42320540.
‘‘Updates are being sent to those people who’ve had to be evacuated, but there’s a number of people who have ‘self relocated’ and we would urge these people to get in touch with council so they can be added to the mail stream.’’
Kiama Council’s environmental services staff will continue to inspect damaged properties.
Owners of insured properties that have contaminated debris should contact their insurance providers and arrange its removal.
Uninsured property owners should contact council for further advice on removal of the material.
Homeowners should also seek council advice on when development approval is required for a storm-damaged property.
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