Carnarvon Caravan Park residents washed away by disaster flooding

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoMidwest Times
Melissa and Tom Wainwright.
Camera IconMelissa and Tom Wainwright. Credit: Supplied

Long-term caravan park residents forced to leave their homes during recent flooding in Carnarvon are trying to clean up the mess it left behind, with one person reporting five of the 14 vans were “completely written off”.

Most residential homes survived the floodwaters in Carnarvon — a sharp improvement from 2010 when entire homes were washed away — with most attention turned to help agribusinesses devastated by the flood.

North West Central MLA Vince Catania said residents at the Carnarvon Caravan Park needed all the help they could get, including relief through the jointly funded State-Commonwealth disaster recovery funding arrangement.

“Caravan park tenants suffered the loss of possessions and damage to their caravans, with some still unsure if these will be able to be salvaged, while buildings and machinery at the park have been damaged by torrential rains and flood waters, with an enormous clean-up ahead,” he said.

When the funding was announced, Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan said: “The Commonwealth and Western Australian governments will continue to monitor the impacts of this event and are ready to extend disaster assistance to those communities in need.”

The clean up at Carnarvon caravan park.
Camera IconThe clean up at Carnarvon caravan park. Credit: Supplied

Carnarvon pensioner Tom Wainwright said he lost $10,000 of personal belongings when the recent tropical low hit the Gascoyne and he was one of the lucky long-term residents in his caravan park.

“I am one of the younger elderly people at the park,” he said.

A born and bred Carnarvon man, he moved back to town only six weeks before the flood after spending years living in Geraldton for work. “For me, it was a return to home,” he said.

Mr Wainwright is retired and says caravan living is more affordable for people trying to make ends meet on a pension — plus, he doesn’t mind the lifestyle.

The 67-year-old is now coming out of retirement to help clean up the town and recuperate some of what he has lost, with most of the belongings in his annexe irreparably damaged.

He said there was not enough support available for the caravan park residents and some people were starting to lose hope.

“We’ve started coming to terms with the fact there is no support coming for us,” he said.

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