By Swati Pandey
SYDNEY (Reuters) – As Australia’s deadly bushfires rage, many companies are reporting hits to business with resorts shutting their doors, cheesemakers struggling to secure milk supplies and insurance claims on the rise.
As many as 5,850 fire-related insurance claims have been lodged since early November with insured losses estimated at A$375 million ($260.3 million), according to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA). However, with conditions still too dangerous in many areas, the full cost of the disaster is not expected to be known for several weeks.
The fires have ripped through more than 6 million hectares (14.8 mln acres) of land in the two most populous states of New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria, killing 24 people so far, razing thousands of buildings and leaving some towns without electricity and mobile coverage.
“Fire activity along the NSW south coast has been catastrophic with significant loss of life, housing and infrastructure,” Aspen said in a statement.
“Tourists and residents have been asked to leave the region. It is not known when trading conditions will return to normal,” it said, although none of its properties have been affected by the fires.
Bega Cheese, which operates two sites the NSW district it is named after, said its employees and dairy suppliers had been affected by the bushfires, sending its shares sinking nearly 9% on Monday.
In Victoria, which accounts for one-third of Australia’s milk production, fires are expected to have killed large numbers of livestock, gutting a A$3.3 billion industry.
Vitalharvest Freehold Trust
The farm comprises about 6% of Vitalharvest’s berry plantings, it said, adding a full assessment was yet to be carried out.
Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers
Kangaroo Island is a popular holiday spot in South Australia where two people died as dangerous fires burned over the weekend.
Last week, Insurance Australia Group
Rival Suncorp said it had received more than 1,500 claims since the fires began in November. “However, the full impact will not be known for several weeks until areas are safe to access.”
(Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Sam Holmes)