Insurance may pose problems for householders
By EMMA CORNFORD
THE Clarence Valley was yesterday declared a natural disaster zone as a result of Thursday's devastating storms, with damage bill expected to reach millions of dollars.
Clarence Valley Mayor Ian Tiley said first damage estimates for Council infrastructure were up to $1million.
Although the declaration of a natural disaster area makes emergency funds available, Cr Tiley said he was concerned for the number of people without insurance.
"Lots of people have uninsured houses and there is a significant issue of broken windows," he said.
"Money from the Government will be to repair the infrastructure bill of the Council, but it doesn't help private householders unfortunately because they are supposed to rely on their insurance. The question is how many people are uninsured."
Minister for Emergency Services Tony Kelly yesterday toured the affected areas around the Lower River and outlined emergency monetary assistance available to residents.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, two separate storm fronts over the Clarence Valley were to blame for the extensive damage of the Lower River area.
Officer in charge at the Bureau of Meteorology Coffs Harbour office, Ashleigh Wilson, said two two storms formed in the west.
"I was keeping my eye on the radar yesterday and it did appear that that may have been what happened up there," she said.
"There was one coming from the south west and the other one was from the north. It was heading east but changed its path slightly and headed slightly south as well, so two storms hit.
"Even though there were these severe storms there wasn't a lot of rainfall. Grafton got 32mm and Maclean got 33," she said.