Large areas of northern SA including the APY Lands and Eyre Peninsula have been hit by extreme weather, rainfall and flooding over the last three weeks as the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Tiffany gradually passed over the state.
The storms left critical road and rail links from Adelaide to the Northern Territory – as well as Western Australia – cut off, prompting authorities to call a Major Emergency Declaration on January 28 and launch emergency supply flights to cut off-towns in the APY Lands and Coober Pedy.
But in a statement last night, Police Commissioner and state emergency coordinator Grant Stevens said the emergency declaration was revoked at 6:56pm on Tuesday following “significant improvements” to conditions in northern SA.
Stevens cited the staged reopening of the Stuart Highway to freight and emergency service vehicles as one of the key reasons for rescinding the declaration, and said the recovery operation has now been handed over to Department of Premier and Cabinet CEO Nick Reade.
In a statement last night, Premier Steven Marshall said DPC officials met with councils across the Eyre Peninsula on Tuesday and preparations are in place to transition from “response to recovery”.
“Key departments responsible for road maintenance are finalising a road repair prioritisation list for tens of thousands of kilometres of sealed, unsealed, access and private roads,” he said.
“A staged re-opening of Stuart Highway continues. One lane is open, with trucks and 4WD vehicles able to travel in one direction at a time, with a maximum speed of 20km/h. I have been advised there are no significant issues at this stage.
“The SES is in contact with outback communities including Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta and is monitoring critical supplies. SAPOL have a presence in situ at Coober Pedy and Oodnadatta and is continuing to monitor the situation.
“Two food deliveries totalling approximately 500kg have been delivered to Oodnadatta in the past two days with the assistance of the SES, RFDS and private operators”.
Marshall also said the Australian Rail Track Corporation expects to finish repairs to the SA-NT and SA-WA rail links by February 15, a couple of days earlier than previous estimates.
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