Australian towns left devastated by ‘unprecedented’ bushfires are now facing a new hurdle, as they struggle to rebuild without electricity, water or phone reception.
Pandora Law, from Billys Creek in Northern New South Wales, told Daily Mail Australia while she only lost power on Tuesday night, others have been without it for a week.
‘The effects of no electricity for days or weeks is catastrophic,’ she said.
‘The health implications of no toilets, no clean water to drink, freezers and fridges full of food spoiled, no communication when phones and computers go flat and of course, there’s no water to fight fires or defend properties unless you have a generator.’
More than 5,000 homes are without power in the affected area, and others are struggling with a lack of mobile reception.
Fires in northern NSW have left thousands without access to electricity, sparking safety concerns
Recent bushfires have destroyed 259 homes (home in Rainbow flat pictured), and killed four
Ms Law said while she has family with her, the situation could be dire for others who are living alone.
‘My phone is nearly flat and computer dead which means soon I’ll have no communication,’ she said.
‘I’m lucky that I have my son and daughter in law with me but I wonder how many people don’t have any support.
‘It’s like living in a third world country with no knowledge as to when power will be restored.’
Ms Law said the government should send Army soldiers to the affected areas to help, as many communities were ‘entirely dependent on volunteers for the RFS or inexperienced locals’ to help defend their properties.
She said hundreds of residents in fire-damaged communities had been without power for a week, some for even longer.
‘That’s atrocious, in this day and age, in a country like Australia,’ she said.
‘It’s very scary to be in this position, to have no power and you’ve got fires around you and you’re thinking, “how am i going to defend my property?”‘
Ms Law has lived in the area since March, and said she has been told to evacuate her home twice this week, and her son has been unable to get to work in Grafton due to road closures for the past two weeks.
She believes deploying the army could help clear roads, assess damage and mitigate future issues faster, which would make residents safer.
‘It’s nobody’s fault per say, it’s a natural disaster, but why isn’t the government assisting when we need it?’ she said.
Essential Energy have started work to repair damaged powerlines, but workers remain hindered by the ongoing fires.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the company revealed more than 440 poles in the affected area were destroyed in the blaze – with more expected to be uncovered as work continues.
Essential Energy has begun work to restore the power, but are battling against dangerous conditions as the fires continues to burn
A power line is seen knocked down following a bushfire at Koorainghat, NSW
More than 440 poles were destroyed in bushfires across the state, with more expected to be uncovered
Brendon Neyland, Essential Energy’s Acting General Manager Customer & Network Services, said staff from across the state were being brought in to help with the repair efforts, but outages could continue as the fires raged on.
‘We want to thank the community for all their support, but also for their understanding and patience,’ he said.
‘The reality is that we’re still working with many unknown factors – we don’t know when we’ll be able to safely access the network again – but we do know that we’re working as hard as possible to get the power back on.’
Communities without water could see a reprieve on the weekend, with convoys of bottled water to be driven up from Sydney.
Dignity Water will drive a road train to Walgett on Saturday, where residents are encouraged to come and collect 10 litre drinking water packages Thurstons Transport on Castlereagh Highway.
The group will be collecting donations there for families affected by the fires, before heading to Glen Innes on Saturday night.
Fires in NSW have destroyed 259 homes, 480 outbuildings and 18 facilities as of Friday morning.
Four people have died in the blaze, and there are 59 fires currently still burning across the state.
There are currently 59 fires burning throughout the state (pictured is Wytaliba)
An estimated million hectares of land has been burned by bushfire following catastrophic fire conditions (pictured are burnt out cars near Colo Heights, NSW)