The Public Information and Inquiry Centre has been activated by police in support of the State Emergency Service following severe weather and flooding overnight on State’s Far North Coast.

Deputy Commissioner David Owens, State Emergency Operations Controller, said the centre is staffed by emergency service workers and volunteers and is available to provide information to affected communities.

“The centre is able to provide information regarding displaced families, road closures, welfare assistance and all other general enquiries,” he said.

The Public Information and Inquiry Centre can be contacted by telephone on 1800 227 228.

It should be noted this inquiry hotline does not replace the State Emergency Service emergency hotline. Members of the public seeking emergency assistance during a flood or storm should call the State Emergency Service on 132 500.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting the State Emergency Service website at www.ses.nsw.gov.au or Emergency NSW at www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.

Meanwhile, Police from Tweed/Byron and Richmond Local Area Commands and the SES have begun evacuating a large number of homes in the Murwillumbah areas as a precautionary measure.

The evacuations begin due to the threat of flood waters which can isolate communities as well as disrupt power supplies and sewerage systems.

A small number of homes in low-lying areas at Fingal Heads have also been evacuated.

Families are being told to prepare to evacuate if necessary and allow plenty of time to do so, packing only what is necessary and to listen to updates through the media.

Police are also urging motorists and people planning on travelling to the far north of the state to reconsider their travel plans.

Most importantly, people should not drive, ride or walk through or allow their children to play in floodwaters, which can be very powerful, run fast and deep and contain hidden debris, as entering floodwater has proven to be the greatest killer in floods.

If members of the public don’t have to be on the roads they are advised to avoid driving where possible, and to use common sense if they have to drive. Road closure information can be found on the RTA website.

If you need emergency assistance as a result of flooding, contact your local SES on 132 500. For life-threatening emergencies call 000.