The Australian Defense Force has started transporting relief supplies to Coober Pedy in northern South Australia after heavy rain cut off road and rail links to the area.
Four RAAF flights will depart Adelaide on Monday with two more scheduled for Tuesday carrying 20 tonnes of groceries and other essentials.
Others may be sent depending on the prevailing conditions and the needs of the inhabitants.
Brigadier Graham Goodwin said the force was ready to help in any way possible.
“Our main duty here is to help the local community of Coober Pedy and outlying areas, giving them security and certainty of their food supplies,” he said.
“People are not going to be left without what they need. We are here to help people in times of crisis.
“Let me assure the people of Coober Pedy, there will be food coming, there will be supplies coming.”
With railway tracks washed out in parts and roads under water, including the Stuart Highway, the inland soaking has also disrupted food and other supplies from the Northern Territory and Western Australia. .
More rain is forecast for northern South Africa this week, with up to 100 millimeters possible in parts.
On Monday, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the region, saying dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding was possible.
He said the intense rainfall was the result of a trough extending from an embedded low pressure system north of Western Australia.
Deputy Chief State Emergency Services Officer Liz Connell said residents should be prepared for more severe conditions and should stay out of floodwaters.
She also urged travelers to delay any travel plans in the area where many roads are still closed.
“We are expecting more rain over the next 72 hours and we expect this will create more difficulty getting vehicles through and getting supplies to this community,” she said.
“It will be good in the long run for the ranchers in the region, but we just need to get over this initial damage.”
Ms Connell said current estimates suggested regular rail freight routes would be restored between February 14 and 17, but that schedule could be reassessed depending on how much rain has fallen this week.
She said damage reporting for roads across northern South Africa continued to be hampered by high water levels, making full assessments impossible at this stage.
A major 14-day emergency was declared in South Australia on Friday, allowing state police commissioner Grant Stevens to direct the movement of goods, ensure food safety and coordinate relief efforts.
Local MP Rowan Ramsey said the help from the federal government and the statement from the South African government were welcome.
“The fact that we are all working together to solve the problems will reassure those who are most affected by the floods,” he said.
Australian Associated Press