A young woman has shared an insight into the daily lives of flood-affected northern NSW residents by posting a heartbreaking video.
TikToker Demi, from Lismore, showcased the current situation in her town by driving through previously flooded streets.
The devastating impact of the NSW Northern Rivers floods can be seen even 22 months after high waters swamped the region.
In the video she shows the “aftermath people don’t see from the floods”, which include abandoned housing and university accommodation, and people still living in caravans while they repair their homes.
Lismore was severely impacted by major flood events in February 2022, damaging more than 6000 homes and wiping out nearly every business in the area.
Thousands of people have left the area over the past year, though many restricted by mortgages have not been able to follow.
“Tell me you live in Lismore without telling me you live in Lismore,” Demi said.
Lismore Major Steve Krieg has said the city is “exactly as it is in the video.”
“There’s still one thousand homes that look exactly like the video,” he says.
“The residential situation in Lismore is terrible.”
In the TikTok, numerous properties can be seen fenced away with the NSW government logo on the fence, displaying the houses are part of the Resilient Homes Program, more commonly known as the buyback scheme.
The $700 million buyback scheme was announced in October last year, allowing eligible homeowners to have their homes raised, repaired or voluntarily bought back jointly funded by the former Coalition and NSW governments.
News.com.au exclusively reveals that 668 buyback offers have since been approved, which is more than half of the total number of properties eligible for the program.
A total of 438 offers have now been accepted and 191 purchases completed.
More than 300 homeowners have been advised that they are eligible for either a home raising or retrofit.
“There’s no quick fix to it unfortunately, but its not also seeming to be pushed along either by the state government by their Resilient Lands or their Resilient Homes package,” Mr Krieg said.
The Resilient Land Program was also launched in October last year and aims to provide a supply of new residential developments for the region.
“It’s very frustrating and really quite traumatic for a lot of people that have called Lismore home for sometimes multiple generations,” he said.
Flood-affected residents are forced to live in temporary accommodation ‘pods’ built by the state government, awaiting the rebuilding and recovery process.
While 200 people are able to call the self contained units their temporary home, others have not been so lucky.
“Like in the video there’s caravans in a lot of driveways, people have made makeshift homes under their houses — literally put tarps and stuff up to protect themselves from the weather,” Mr Krieg said.
Other people have been forced to move in with friends, or are even still living in motels.
“I heard a story from a lady last week that had moved 24 times post-flood and that’s still an ongoing problem,” Mr Krieg shared.
“There will be mistakes made, but there are also positives coming out of it as well,” Mr Krieg said.
“In the next six or 12 months there should be real movement hopefully in the residential homes space in particular, but also the recovery and rebuild of the city as a whole.”