Floods that have ravaged Australia’s east coast will be declared a national emergency, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday, as officials work to transport help and emergency supplies to the most severely affected communities.
Morrison also vowed extra financial help for families and businesses impacted by weeks of rain that have inundated rural communities and suburbs throughout Sydney during a visit to the devastated town of Lismore in northern New South Wales.
The emergency declaration, enacted in the aftermath of Australia’s devastating 2019 bushfires, would help cut red tape and speed up relief from defence personnel, after criticism of a tardy reaction to the floods, which killed 20 people.
“The input we’ve received… has assisted us in identifying where the gaps are right now and how we can get support out the door swiftly to where it’s required”, Morrison said in a statement. He said the administration has requested to the governor-general that the floods be declared a national emergency.