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‘Humanitarian situation’ in Northern Territory community of Wadeye as hundreds flee violence

Hundreds of residents from a remote Northern Territory community remain displaced due to recent violent unrest, in what one senator has described as a “humanitarian situation”.

Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy said she visited Wadeye over the weekend, about 420 kilometers south of Darwin, following weeks of escalating violence between families after a man, 32, was killed last month.

Dozens of homes have been extensively damaged by fire and the community’s only food store has been forced to close several times.

“Where I’m calling for support – and I understand the territory government has gone out since I made that call to them on the weekend – is for the humanitarian situation,” Senator McCarthy said.

“Those families, the women and children … had — at that time that I was out there — no accommodation, no toiletries [or] sanitation, and very, very little food, if any.”

Senator McCarthy said hundreds of people had fled to outstations, temporary bush camps and surrounding homelands, while community members embroiled in the conflict fought with weapons and set houses on fire.

Debris from damaged properties was left scattered along the streets.(Supplied)

Numerous people have been injured in the unrest.

Senator McCarthy said she believed living conditions in Wadeye had improved since her visit thanks to police and the Northern Territory government, however said “there’s a great deal of hurt” among the families.

“I had the opportunity to speak to all sides of the families that are obviously in conflict, and urged everyone there that violence is not on.”

NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy looks beyond the camera.
Senator McCarthy says she is encouraging family groups, leaders, and government to keep trying to find a peaceful resolution.(ABC News: Che Chorley)

What’s being done to address the crisis?

NT Police Acting Commissioner Michael Murphy said extra police had been deployed to Wadeye in recent weeks to help bring violence under control.

He also said stores were now “well supplied” with essentials.

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