Temporary housing for Morawa cyclone rebuild

Edward ScownMidwest Times
SES volunteers working on a Morawa home which was hit by ex-Tropical Cyclone Seroja.
Camera IconSES volunteers working on a Morawa home which was hit by ex-Tropical Cyclone Seroja. Credit: Joanne Renae Burnett

Cyclone recovery in Morawa is a step closer after the council approved a plan to house travelling workers in caravans.

After a unanimous vote at last week’s council meeting, the shire will use $200,000 in Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements grants to buy four caravans to provide temporary accommodation for workers, as many residents of Morawa still have not been able to get repairs done eight months after cyclone Seroja hit.

According to the Shire of Morawa’s statistics, 107 properties were damaged in the cyclone — about 20 per cent of the properties in the shire. 28 of those were considered to be severely damaged or completely destroyed. 583 properties were without power for more than three weeks after the cyclone had passed.

“A significant amount of the damage caused by Cyclone Seroja remains unrectified throughout Morawa,” Shire president Karen Chappel said.

“The damage was wide ranging and impacted residential properties as well as fencing, storage sheds and recreational assets. Many property owners are still suffering from insurance roadblocks.”

The purchase of the caravans will be covered by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services through the DRFA grants. However, management and cleaning costs will be left to the shire.

“The management costs at this stage are unknown but the Shire would try to implement a charge for caravan use that offsets most costs,” Cr Chappel said.

Some local contractors have been able to begin work, replacing fallen fencing, and restoring the Morawa bowling green. However, their availability is limited, and whether they can be engaged often comes down to insurance company preferences.

“The Shire is aware of a few people who have seen rebuilding works commence on their properties,” Cr Chappel said.

“However, for the majority, works are yet to commence and the Shire has seen a worrying trend of insurance companies offering lump sum pay outs as opposed to delivering a rebuild.

“Most of the guidance being received around natural disaster recovery suggests that another 18-24 months of work remains.”

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