Flood forces Mid-Richmond evacuations
By SAMANTHA TURNBULL
SINGLE mother of four Tanya Coghlan watched her Coraki home slowly go under water on television last night.
She had evacuated on Saturday with nothing but her children, dog and a spare set of clothes for everyone.
"It's happened so quickly. I couldn't believe it when I saw the water around the house on TV," she said.
"I've only lived there nine months, so I didn't know it could get so high so fast."
Tanya fled her riverside home to stay with her grandparents in a higher part of town, where she and about 1500 other residents are expected to be cut off for up to three days.
The Richmond River peaked at Coraki at 6.61 metres about 9.45 last night.
It was the second-highest flood peak on record, similar to the peak in April 1989.
The State Emergency Service has also warned of major flooding along the lower Richmond River at Bungawalbyn and further downstream.
Woodburn is expected to peak early this morning, with a river peak of just under 4.5 metres.
About 160 residents at Cabbage Tree Island, near Wardell, were evacuated late yesterday.
The NSW Department of Community Services has set up an evacuation centre for the community at the Richmond Room behind the Ballina Library.
Meanwhile, Mid-Richmond residents were yesterday warned to stock up on supplies to prepare for isolation.
An SES spokesperson said about 250 people living on rural properties between Lismore and Coraki on the lower Wilsons River were also facing several days of isolation.
The SES will be monitoring their welfare and providing resupply as required.
Residents already isolated and in urgent need of food or medication should call 132 500. Those without phones should wave a white bed sheet or place it on their roof.