21 January 2020

Windows smashed and records broken as wind and hail batters Canberra

| Dominic Giannini
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Windscreen damage

Insurance claims are expected to be in the hundreds of millions. Photo: Casey via The Canberra Page.

The Emergency Services Agency (ESA) has received more than 2,000 calls for assistance after Monday’s severe hail storm in the ACT, more than triple the average number of calls they receive in a year (600 calls) and more than double the previous record of 998 calls after a wind storm hit on 13 January 2017.

As at 5pm on Tuesday, 580 jobs have been complete and there are 1,464 jobs outstanding.

The Insurance Council of Australia says more than 29,000 insurance claims have already been made across Victoria, NSW and the ACT since Sunday. The estimated cost of claims at this stage is around $320 million. Thousands of claims are expected to come through over the coming days.

Over 16,000 calls were made from the ACT (56 per cent). One-third of claims related to houses and two-thirds related to vehicle damage.

The ACT has also run out of hire cars and insurance companies are working to bring more into the capital, as well as organise more roofers to deal with the influx of claims following extensive hail damage across the city.

Pergola destroyed

Hail damage to a pergola. Photo: ESA.

Emergency services personnel have been working through the night to respond to roof and window damage, fallen trees and electrical hazards.

There are approximately 35 crews consisting of personnel from the ACTSES, ACT RFS, ACT Fire and Rescue, and Transport Canberra and City Services.

As the hail smashed windscreens and windows making many cars undrivable, Access Canberra has said that cars in government-controlled carparks that cannot be driven will not be fined for exceeding time limits. However, owners are urged to remove any valuable items from their vehicles.

The ESA has asked the public for their patience saying that it will take a number of days to get through every task.

If you have called for help but no longer need assistance, call 132 500 to cancel your request. In a life-threatening emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

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