The number of buildings destroyed by Cyclone Seroja has now increased to 32 – 23 of them homes – with more than 800 confirmed damaged from the powerful weekend storm.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Kalbarri, one of the hardest hit communities, during his WA visit today.
The damage inflicted on the small tourist town has now been declared an “insurance catastrophe”.
Mr Morrison said the Australian response in helping those affected was “truly humbling” and commended those travelling from all over the country to offer assistance.
“We’ve seen too many disasters in this country over recent years,” Mr Morrison said.
“But on each occasion, the Australian spirit and the Australian response is truly humbling.
“My message to the people of Kalbarri today is that Australia is standing with you, as Australia has stood with all of those Australians who have faced such terrible natural disasters.”
While a disaster relief fund was originally just available to those affected in the Shire of Northampton, this has now been extended to other areas.
People in Carnamah, Chapman Valley, Greater Geraldton, Mingenew, Morawa, Perenjori and Three Springs local government areas can now also access the support package.
Mr Morrison thanked the Australian Defence Force personnel who are in Kalbarri and surrounding areas, helping with the recovery effort.
He also commended the local SES who helped ensure thousands of locals were safely evacuated prior to the storm hitting.
“Some 7000 or so weren’t there. People who were in this town before that cyclone hit and the commander of the local SES made sure that people got out. That clearly saved lives,” Mr Morrison said.
“That quick thinking, that experience that was needed in that moment, the work that was done as a community to get people to safety was extraordinary and we are now in the position where the injuries here are minor, substantially, and there has certainly been no loss of life and that is, indeed, a miracle, given what we’ve seen happen as a result of this terrible cyclone.”