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Teetering homes face another king tide


Multi-million-dollar beachside homes in Sydney’s north that are teetering on the badly eroded coastline, face another hammering with an “abnormally high tide” predicted for this evening.

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Seven beachside homes and a unit block at Collaroy were evacuated on Sunday night during the state’s wild storms as eight-metre waves slammed the coast, washing away backyards, balconies and a swimming pool.

Residents have not been allowed back as structural engineers inspect the beachfront homes, and the Bureau of Meteorology says another “significant” tide is set to hit on Tuesday at 10.30pm.

The high tide won’t be as big as Sunday night’s but will be an “abnormally high tide”, said BOM spokeswoman, Helen Kirkup.

Storms lashed the east coast of NSW over the weekend, with Sydney’s northern beaches one of the areas worst affected.

About 700 properties at nearby Narrabeen were evacuated during the weekend’s wild weather but on Monday they were deemed safe for people to return home.

However, many of the beachfront Collaroy homes are not likely to be insured against damage from the sea, said the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA).

Most housing insurance policies don’t typically cover “actions of the sea”, which includes coastal erosion, king tides or storm surges, said ICA’s Campbell Fuller in a statement.

“A small number of policies on the market will cover actions of the sea under certain conditions,” he said in a statement.

“Ninety-three per cent of all new home insurance policies purchased in Australia now include cover for flooding (under the standard definition), but neither actions of the sea nor the effects of gradual sea level rise are considered to be flooding for insurance purposes.”

So far insurers have received more than 11,150 claims across Queensland and NSW, with estimated insured losses of $38 million,

That figure is expected to rise.

Northern beaches residents spent Monday morning walking up and down the debris-littered beach taking photos and surveying the damage. One said it was “as if a tsunami had hit”.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said his government was doing everything it could to assess the damage.

Applications for emergency funding will be fast-tracked by the NSW government after storms left three people dead in NSW and the ACT and hundreds with property damage.

He said interest-free loans and grants for individuals, small business and community groups of up to $130,000 would be made available.

“When that does come through and the full extent of the damage is known, that will provide support,” he said at Collaroy Beach on Monday.

Meanwhile, the human toll of the storms that have lashed the east coast continues to rise.

The death toll so far is four, with three people still missing.

The body of a woman lost in the Tasmanian floods has been found in her home today.

Mary Allford, 75, was reported missing after her husband was winched to safety when their Latrobe home was inundated with water on Monday.

On Tuesday police said search and rescue crews had found her body after the water inside her home had subsided.

An 81-year-old man, named by the ABC as Trevor Foster,is still missing after being swept into the rising Ouse River from his backyard following heavy rainfall.

A second man is also missing in what Premier Will Hodgman says are the state’s worst floods for 40 years.

The man’s car was swept away in Evandale near Launceston. His female companion was plucked to safety from floodwaters on Tuesday morning.

More than 100 people have now been rescued by helicopter across Tasmania.

The State Government says Tasmanians who’ve lost homes and belongings will be able to get immediate financial assistance.


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