Official Name of Eligible NDRRA Event: Central Australia Flash Flooding – December 2016 and January 2017

Australian Government Reference Number: 735

Date of Activation: 31 December 2017

Local Government Areas Affected: Alice Springs Municipality, Barkly Regional Council, Central Desert and MacDonnell Shires

Available Categories of Assistance:

  • Category A – 5.2.1 a) Emergency food, clothing or temporary accommodation (until 31 July 2017)
  • Category A – 5.2.1 b) Repair or replacement of essential items and personal effects (until 31 July 2017)
  • Category A – 5.2.1 c) Essential repairs to housing (until 31 July 2017)
  • Category A – 5.2.1 f) Extraordinary counter-disaster operations (until 30 June 2019)
  • Category A - 5.2.1 h) Extraordinary costs associated with the delivery of any of the above forms of assistance (until 30 June 2019)
  • Category B – 5.3.1 a) Restoration or replacement of an essential public asset (until 30 June 2019)

Allowable Time Limit for Eligible Expenditure: 30.06.2019

Media Releases

The following media release has been issued relating to this natural disaster event:

Summary of Event

On 23 December 2016, a tropical low crossed from Western Australia into the southwest border of the Northern Territory, causing destructive winds, widespread heavy rainfall and flash flooding. The heavy rainfall resulted in significant flooding which caused damage to local infrastructure and the road network, including road closures.

On the afternoon of Friday 23 December, a tropical low developed over inland Western Australia. A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding was issued for the Lasseter, southern Tanami and western Simpson districts.

On Sunday 25 December, the deep low pressure system low passed into the Northern Territory, southwest of the Lasseter district, with locally destructive winds peaking at 125 km/h, while 61.4 mm of rainfall fell between 8.00 pm and 9.00 pm that night alone. Initial weather forecasts did not expect the heavy rainfall to be as intense, as the Bureau of Meteorology advised having that much rainfall in such a short period, was a once in half a century event. 

By Monday 26 December, Wulungurru in the Lasseter district, received 232 mm of rainfall in between 12.00 pm and 2.00 am, causing flash flooding in the town of Kintore, a community of about 400 people, situated 520 km west of Alice Springs, near the Western Australian border.

In Kintore, 96 people were evacuated to the emergency shelter at the local school, where 53 people remained until Friday 30 December. Up to 25 homes, essential public assets and services were affected by flooding, which rendered all roads in and out of Kintore impassable.

Continued severe thunderstorm warnings were issued by the Bureau of Meteorology from Wednesday 28 December 2016 until Friday 13 January 2017 as the weather system continued to produce heavy rainfall and flash flooding in those regions.

Summary of Significant Relief and Recovery Achievements to Date

Continued heavy rainfall throughout January 2017 prevented the initial floodwaters from receding as the Territory experienced its second-wettest wet season on record, hampering relief and recovery efforts and delaying the reopening of roads and infrastructure.

All 96 people evacuated to the emergency shelter in Kintore returned to their homes and relief and recovery works continued as flood waters receded and roads were reopened. The Central Desert Regional Council has submitted a proposal for construction and maintenance of a major civil infrastructure project for assessment by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics.

The Department of Housing and Community Development and Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics are undertaking detailed assessments of damage to the road network to determine the pre-disaster standard and post-disaster damage caused as a direct result of the eligible disaster to essential public assets, in line with the NDRRA determination and guidelines. 

Enquiries for Category B Assistance Measures Available

To enquire about Category A assistance for the personal hardship and distress assistance or counter disaster operations assistance, please contact your local Territory Families office.

To enquire about Category B assistance for the restoration or replacement of essential public assets, please contact either the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics or call (08) 8924 7530, alternatively, please contact the Department of Housing and Community Development or call (08) 8924 3644.

For further information on recovery assistance, please visit the Australian Government's Disaster Assist website.