Feb. 25 - A natural disaster is declared on the north coast of the Australian state of New South Wales amid flooding brought on my days of torrential rain, while a small cyclone hits south of Sydney. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell declared a natural disaster on Monday (February 25) after more than 20,000 people on the state's north coast were cut off by flooding.
The small city of Kempsey, on the Macleay River, was spared major damage but farmers upstream were not, with many reporting their properties underwater and livestock cut off.
The mayor of Kempsey welcomed the declaration of a natural disaster saying extra help was badly needed in the area.
Local media said government financial assistance should be available within days.
On Sunday (February 24) morning on the south coast of the state a freak storm hit the town of Kiama, 120km (75 miles) south of Sydney, destroying four homes and damaged 70 more, local media reported.
The storm, described as a mini-tornado of cyclonic force, cut a swathe through the coastal town.
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