What’s Actually Happening in the NSW Northern Rivers Flooding

northern rivers floods 2022

It’s been a wild and wet few weeks in New South Wales and Queensland and, by the looks of things, it’s going to continue to be for some time.

For those lucky enough to escape the floods that have inundated the east coast of Australia, videos and images of the devastation continue to abound on social media. For those not so lucky, they’re living that devastation live.

In Northern Rivers towns from Murwillumbah in the north, through Mullumbimby, to Lismore, and down to Yamba, residents have had their homes and livelihoods destroyed. Since flooding hit the region last Monday, locals have said they feel forgotten by the government as they work virtually unaided to clean up the mess.

Many regions and towns are without power, without water, and with food and essential supplies severely limited. Although an army of volunteers have shown up to help out, and donations pour in from around the country, it will take months to rebuild.

Here’s just a selection of how bad the scenes on the ground are.

Northern Rivers Aerial Photography, a freelance business based in Lismore that normally focuses on sweeping nature shots has captured some of the impact on the Lismore town centre during the flooding last week:

Residents are calling for more government help as the clean up appears to be mainly community-led, with few government resources on the ground.

Many residents, like Ella Buckland above, have set up their own Go Fund Me pages to raise money to cover the costs of the damage. The government offers some financial support, but for many, the $1000 disaster payment is woefully insufficient.


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A post shared by Scotty Brizzle (@scottybrizzle)

Northern Rivers comedian Scotty Brizzle has been documenting the cleanup process in Lismore, noting in the video above that overnight rain in the area has helped dampen the “toxic dust cloud” across the region.

“We had a massive cleanup in town yesterday. There were bobcats, excavators, big dump trucks here collecting all the enormous piles of rubbish on the sides of the roads.”


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A post shared by The Broad Place (@thebroadplace)

The Broad Place, a “school for creativity, clarity, and consciousness” that offer meditation retreats and classes in the Northern Rivers, have shared the above interview with James Lyell, one half of the electronic duo Flight Facilities, and his friend Fraser Walker who are pitching in to help with the recovery.

The pair talk about what they’ve seen in Main Arm, north-west of Mullumbimby, where families are still trapped on the other side of a massive landslide that has sent houses and vehicles down the mountain.

“They need heavy machinery,” Walker said. “The biggest thing is access. Helicopters have been incredible but they can only do so much. It’s hard to describe how much land is across access ways.”

“It’s so volatile. We were sinking into holes up to waist and chest height,” Lyell said.

It’s hard to comprehend the scale of the destruction over such a wide region of the country and for the time being, rescue efforts are still being made. The cleanup will go on for months and it could take potentially years for the area to make a full recovery from the disaster.

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