Hospital being raised for flood protection

Nothing can stop a flood like 1998 from devastating Katherine again, authorities believe.
Nothing can stop a flood like 1998 from devastating Katherine again, authorities believe.

Buildings and vital equipment are being raised higher at Katherine Hospital to help it cope with future floods.

Even walkways are to be raised to allow the hospital to still function during floods smaller than the one in 200 year flood of 1998.

The advice from the NT Government follows criticism by townsfolk of plans to “sacrifice” the hospital in favour of about 300 homes.

Residents have been asked to comment on plans to build a series of levee banks and walls through Katherine to help in future floods.

In a survey conducted by Katherine Times last month, the small number of people who responded urged authorities to consider the hospital the most important.

There is no hope holding back a devastating flood like 1998, a recent forum at the Katherine Civic Centre was told.

The experts are intent on saving what they can on a smaller flood, like 2006.

The hospital was to be “sacrificed” to the flood as part of this new plan.

.But DIPL has told us later the hospital would be well and truly evacuated before any water arrived.

There are long-term plans to move the hospital from the flood zone but no funding for it.

Today the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics responded to the fears of some residents.

The department said the decision to save some homes instead of the hospital was made by two separate Katherine committees.

In 2017 the Katherine Emergency Committee endorsed a recommendation to progress with structural mitigation and planning measures that provided the greatest benefit to the community in 2006 type flood.

“This is consistent with the Katherine Advisory Committee recommendation 2.1,” the department said.

“Detailed modelling has confirmed that to protect the town from a Q20 event (2006) it would not be effective if levees were constructed around the Katherine Hospital. Levees around the hospital would in fact increase the water levels in residential areas of Katherine North and South.

“Since 1998 any work at the Katherine Hospital has been undertaken with consideration to improving the resilience of the buildings in the event of a flood. This is evident on site by the elevated buildings, electrical and other service equipment constructed since 1998.

“DIPL is working with the Department of Health to upgrade electrical transformers and switchboards at an elevated height to avoid inundation.

“Other works include constructing new buildings at an elevated level, this includes walkways, lifting of air conditioning plants and routing of cabling through the ceiling cavity.

“In addition, a  new upgraded emergency helicopter landing pad with the capacity for day and night landings, catering for large aircraft from the Australian Defence Force and Careflight was also constructed to facilitate evacuations.”

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