By ANN-MARIE MAY
IT MAY not have been a cyclone, but the damage left in the wake of yesterday morning's storm was just as devastating.
NSW Minister for Emergency Services Tony Kelly flew into the city late yesterday afternoon ? in the middle of another heavy downpour ? to announce what we all knew: Coffs Harbour and Bellingen were natural disaster areas.
"You don't have to be Einstein to see that a significant amount of rain and damage has occurred in the area," Mr Kelly said.
Local SES were kept busy throughout the day, with Coffs Coast residents battling overnight damage from heavy rain storms and daytime wild winds, more torrential rain and flooding.
Calls for assistance were mainly about damage caused to homes, cars, roads and businesses.
Mr Kelly's declaration makes available a range of financial assistance for families, businesses, farmers, community groups and the councils in dealing with the storms.
Under an agreement with the Federal Government, NSW will pay the first $79.7 million of all natural disaster costs in each year. The Federal Government then matches NSW expenditure for costs between $79.7 million and $139.5 million, and beyond that pays for three quarters of all costs.
For the average Coffs Coast resident with damage to houses or property, personal hardship and distress assistance may be available through the Department of Community Services.
More information on what the declaration means to you will be in tomorrow's The Coffs Coast Advocate.