Food relief for flooded South Australia

Gina Rushton and Phoebe Loomes |

The Australian Defence Force is set to deliver 20 tonnes of food and supplies to Coober Pedy in South Australia where grocery shipment routes have been affected by floodwaters. 

Inland floods this week damaged rail infrastructure in South Australia and cut food supply lines to the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Shortages of food and essential supplies are now a concern in Darwin, Western Australia and remote towns including Coober Pedy.

Premier Steven Marshall warned on Sunday morning the northern half of the state could expect up to 200mm of rainfall in some areas over the next few days. 

The first flight into Coober Pedy is expected to leave the Edinburgh base on Monday morning. 

“We are very grateful to our friends in the Australian Defence Force who have been helping South Australia, first with the bushfires of course, then with our response to coronavirus and now with these extreme weather events,” Mr Marshall said. 

“In addition, a new heavy vehicle route has been secured for access to the Northern Territory through New South Wales, Queensland and into Darwin.”

The Stuart Highway, the main link between Adelaide and Darwin, has been submerged in some parts, rerouting road trains transporting groceries to towns like Coober Pedy.

The premier said several motorists had ignored road closures overnight and he urged truck drivers to stay away from floodwaters. 

A 14-day major emergency was declared in South Australia on Friday, allowing the state’s Police Commissioner Grant Stevens to direct the movement of freight and improve SA food security.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie on Saturday said people would not go without food. 

“Our first concern is for the safety and needs of those directly affected and we know that through working together we can keep the wheels turning and restore supply chains across the country,” she said.