More areas of NSW in Australia declared disaster zones

08:29, June 17, 2011      

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A further five council areas in northern New South Wales (NSW) in southeast Australia were declared natural disaster zones on Thursday as thousands of people remain isolated following days of torrential rain in the region.

The local government areas included in the updated declaration are Greater Taree Shire, Port Stephens, Nambucca Shire, Dungog Shire and Port Macquarie-Hastings.

The Upper Hunter, Bellingen, Clarence Valley and Kempsey Shire Councils were declared disaster zones on Wednesday afternoon.

NSW police and emergency services minister Michael Gallacher told reporters in Sydney on Thursday that the declaration means those worst hit by flooding can get assistance.

"There are a range of measures that are available to residents, small business and primary producers to seek relief from the state government," he said.

"There are those that quite simply don't have insurance or those who can't get access to it as quickly, there is an opportunity for them through these processes to seek some relief," he added.

The State Emergency Service issued evacuation orders for Taree West, Taree North, Chatham, Browns Creek and Dawson River Caravan Park on Wednesday.

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