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Areas such as the already devastated Lismore saw evacuation orders cancelled yesterday afternoon, but the emergency escalated again today after a massive thunderstorm saw extreme flash flooding.
The levees at Lismore were overtopped this morning, but some locals said they did not receive an evacuation message until 40 minutes later.
Some told 2GB they were relying on Facebook groups for updates, with the city’s mayor also saying social media was providing the latest updates.
“You can’t rely on the SES and the Bureau at the moment,” Lismore Mayor Steve Krieg told Ben Fordham.
Jacqui Lewis from Mullumbimby said “We were told nothing”.
She said families flooded weeks ago were now being hit again in what were supposed to be safe areas.
“It’s a disaster site,” she said.
Plus Lismore’s emergency sirens are not working.
Local Labor MP Justine Elliott warned residents in the town the sirens wouldn’t sound, on social media.
“Sirens will not sound there is a malfunction. You must get out now,” she said.
NSW Emergencies Minister Stephanie Cooke said they were trying to restore infrastructure as quickly as they could after the previous floods.
SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin said the organisation did warn the levee could breach, and that the storm had been too unpredictable to anticipate.
“The messaging has also been through the night, and over the last few days, to stay aware of your surroundings, and to be across what is coming,” Deputy Commissioner Austin said.
“So we talked yesterday afternoon about the potential for levee overtop. We talked again during the night about the potential for levee overtop.
“Emergency text messages were also issued during the night to the community, and the warnings were also issued during the night.
“So we have continued to provide information to those communities.”