Bushfire teams tally SA damage

Bushfire teams tally SA damage

13January 2005

publishedby http://abc.net.au/ 

 South Australian police say they have accounted for all those reportedmissing in the bushfires on the lower Eyre Peninsula and are now working toconfirm the amount of damage caused by the fires.

Tuesday’s fires badly disrupted communications to the lower Eyre Peninsula,leaving police and dozens of volunteers to the task of checking properties aftercalls from concerned friends and relatives.

However, police are now able to account for all residents, and have turnedtheir attention to surveying damaged areas.

The damage bill of the bushfire is expected to run into the tens of millionsof dollars, with 80,000 hectares burnt in total.

Nine people died in the fires and 117 people were injured.

The fire has also killed 30,000 animals and destroyed 80 buildings and 80cars.

But South Australian Police Commissioner Mal Hyde says the tally of propertydestroyed is likely to dramatically rise as teams move through the fire area.

Commissioner Hyde also says officers are dealing with some reports of lootingof properties.

“You would have the upmost contempt for anyone who takes advantage ofthis catastrophic event in the community and to stoop so low as to take fromthose who are victims of it,” he said.

He has also announced a full inquiry into the way authorities have handledthe bushfire.

Commissioner Hyde wants the cause of the bushfires to be determined by theSouth Australian coroner.

Government assistance

The State Government today trebled its emergency assistance fund to $6million with promises of more if needed.

The Government will also provide $10,000 to each farmer, along withassistance for fencing and access to long-term no interest loans.

Premier Mike Rann says a government office has been set up at Port Lincolnand another will open in Cummins.

He says ministers will be assigned to the area.

“Ministers will be located here… Leah Stevens, then Rory McEwen thenKarlene Maywald,” Mr Rann said.

“Each of those ministers will have the power of Cabinet to makedecisions on the spot.”



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