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Remote NT communities remain cut off by floodwaters as Timber Creek region mayor calls for new evacuation plan

Heavy rains are easing in central Australia but several remote communities remain isolated, as calls grow from flood-hit Timber Creek for a review of the disaster response.

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie crossed back into the Northern Territory from WA last weekend, bringing heavy falls to the south-west and close to Alice Springs.

The Aboriginal communities of Haasts Bluff, Mt Liebig and Ampilatwatja remain cut off both by road and air due to water on roads and airstrips. 

Meanwhile, about a dozen communities in the region are cut off by road. 

Unsealed roads mean communities in the region are often isolated for weeks at a time over December and January.

But MacDonnell Regional Council chief executive, Jeff MacLeod, said ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie's track over the past three weeks had taken locals by surprise.

"I've been here for a long time, I've seen [cyclones] come down [and then] they've travelled through and kept going," he said.

"But this one is just quite amazing. It's come down to nearly Alice Springs and then turned and gone up to Broome and now it's travelling back again."

Mr McLeod said despite fresh and perishable stock running low in some isolated communities, local stores were well prepared to get through the flooding.

The council was hopeful floodwaters would recede in order for new supplies to be delivered later in the week.

"They do have a lot of supplies of hard and canned and frozen goods," he said. 

"Power and Water build up sufficient supplies of diesel for the bowsers, so they're all fine for at least another month, and we've also got our fuel supply. 

"All of our services are still operating out there [and] we've got a month's supply of food for our aged care program."

Alice Springs resident and cleaning business owner, Lachlan Moulton, has been trapped in the remote community of Yuendumu with his staff for about five days.

"Ten years, more or less I've spent in Central Australia, I have seen some bad rainfall before," he said.

"But I've never seen the [Napperby Creek] flow like that before. It was a raging torrent when we saw it yesterday."

Superintendent Peter Dash from NT Police, Fire and Emergency Service said authorities had only received one call for assistance in Alice Springs as of Monday.

He said a number of roads across Central Australia remained closed, including unsealed portions of the Tanami Road, but said assistance was available to isolated communities "when and need be". 

In the 24 hours to 9am Monday, Alice Springs Airport received 84mm.

Parts of the central-west of the Northern Territory have received between 200 and 300mm of rain in the past week. 

A flood watch remains in place for large parts of Central Australia.

Council for flood-hit Timber Creek calls for better planning

Communities which were inundated by flooding when the cyclone first hit the territory are now able to apply for recovery funding, under a scheme announced on Monday by the NT and federal governments. 

Timber Creek and two nearby Indigenous communities experienced a one-in-50-year flooding event as ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie moved inland two days before Christmas.

Victoria Daly Regional Council Mayor Brian Pedwell said as recovery efforts continued it was becoming clear better emergency procedures were needed to help the community cope with natural disasters. 

In the initial aftermath, evacuated residents were forced to take shelter on a basketball court before they were moved to a defence base.

"Our basketball shed, while fine for community events and sporting games, is not a suitable place to keep people safe and well during a disaster event," Mr Pedwell said.

"What's more, if the flooding had been any worse, we wouldn't have even been able to use the basketball court because it would've been underwater."

He called on the NT government to re-evaluate its emergency evacuation plan for the Timber Creek region.

Acting Chief Minister Nicole Manison said more than 200 hardship payments had already been made to individuals and the council. 

"There have been infrastructure issues that have been faced in buildings, clean up, and of course the roads," she said. 

Ms Manison said the payments would go towards assisting people who have lost their homes, personal possessions and to help with the "personal hardship they've suffered".

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