Frenzied farmers have brought sheep to safety in southwest NSW.



Harrowing scenes unfold in southwest NSW, where farmers face the harrowing task of trying to rescue their flood-stranded livestock.

Deniliquin farmer Louise Burge has lost at least 100 sheep while thousands more are stranded. She now depends on food drops from SES helicopters to keep them alive.

“It’s definitely beyond catastrophic,” she told AAP.

Her family and neighbors moved thousands of sheep to higher ground last week as floods engulfed the property.

“They were probably in the water overnight, but because we got them early enough, they weren’t hypothermic,” said Ms Burge.

The NSW farmer said about a hundred sheep have died and three thousand are still stranded.

“So we have helicopters going to three different gangs, and this first gang had been without food for six days,” she said.

Helicopters coordinated by the state’s emergency service delivered hay to the waterlogged properties on Thursday as farmers desperately moved their cattle to drier ground.

Desperate farmers compete to get thousands of sheep to higher ground. Photo: AAP

And it’s not just cattle that farmers have lost.

“We’ve lost most of our crops, we’ve lost just about everything,” Ms Burge said.

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Despite preparing for the worst for months, the farmer said nothing could have prepared her family for the flood, and the situation got worse when the banks began to break.

It is the third time in a month that the area has been flooded, with a peak this week.

“The Edward River was higher than it had ever been before,” she said.

The Burges’ sheep are now trapped on islands and are expected to be stranded for weeks.

“We won’t be able to get to them for another month or so when the creek goes down, until the Murray River drops to a certain height.”

All four of the Burges’ properties southeast of Deniliquin are flooded.

Thousands of hectares of farmland remain under water.

With most of the crops washed away or eaten by hungry cattle, the NSW farmer is concerned about what will happen to the sheep when the helicopter takes off.

“We can’t drive them away and we’re going to have to keep helicopter feeding because I don’t know how long, there’s no more food… all the food has gone bad.

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“We don’t know how we’re going to feed these sheep because they’re going to be stranded for a month or more.”

In the residential area of ​​Deniliquin, an interstate crew was deployed to assist with sandbags.

There are currently 83 alerts statewide, shown in the latest SES update Thursday night.

Central West — Emergency teams are targeting five cities

The NSW State Emergency Service has deployed teams to Euabalong along with rescue teams from New Zealand and Singaporean Civil Defense Force personnel.

NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey said resources were being focused on towns such as Condobolin and Euabalong along the Lachlan River, Bourke on the Darling River and Deniliquin and Moulamein on the Edward River.

“NSW SES members conducted community outreach in preparation for this predicted major flood in Euabalong,” he said.

“NSW SES continues to ensure supplies of essential goods and medicines while they remain isolated, and requests for sandbags.”

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet will speak to locals on Friday and assess the devastation in the flood-hit town of Condobolin in the center west.

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The SES told residents they can cautiously return to Condobolin, but 83 warnings remain in effect.

Mr Perrottet said repairing 10,000 km of damaged roads battered by the floods remains a priority in the rebuilding process.

“We have a huge repair job ahead of us, especially in the Central West,” he told reporters on Thursday.

“It’s not just to keep people safe on our roads, but to get the products to market, we need to fix those roads very quickly.”

The Bureau of Meteorology says major flooding of the Murray River is occurring at Wakool Junction, Boundary Bend and Euston – all transboundary towns with Victoria.

In Bourke, the main flood peak of the Barwon-Darling River is approaching levels above the 1998 flood record, with a peak also expected overnight

The Murrumbidgee River at Balranald Weir is also heading towards a peak of 7.3 metres.

The agency also warns that the summer will be wet, with more rain and inevitable flooding.

It said rainfall from December to February was likely (over a 60 per cent chance) above average for the north coast and southern NSW.


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