Disasters & Accidents

500,000 face flood evacuation in New South Wales

Sydney, Australia, March 3 (EFE).- Almost half a million residents of Sydney and other areas of New South Wales state were under evacuation orders or warnings on Thursday due to storms causing flash flooding, which has so far resulted in at least 14 deaths on the east coast of Australia.

The torrential rain since the beginning of last week in Queensland and NSW intensified Thursday throughout Sydney and the surrounding jurisdictions of the Central Coast and Hunter region, causing overflows of its rivers and dams.

“We do believe that things will get worse before they get better,” NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet warned Thursday at a press conference in Sydney.

The State Emergency Service has issued 76 evacuation orders affecting 200,000 people, and 18 evacuation warnings affecting another 300,000 people.

Weather forecasts predict that 250 millimeters of rain on Thursday, with the possibility of dangerous flash floods, as well as strong winds of 90 kilometers per hour, especially in the areas surrounding the Nepean, Hawkesbury and Georges rivers, in western Sydney, for which some 300 schools have been ordered closed.

Tens of thousands of people in the neighborhoods around the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers fear their levels rising to at least 14 meters, causing a catastrophe similar to the one they experienced in March last year, when their homes flooded and they were left incommunicado for several days.

While Sydney deals with the storm, towns such as Lismore and others on the north coast of NSW, which were hit earlier in the week, are beginning their clean-up amid fuel and food shortages in some of the submerged areas.

The floods have also affected some 20,000 homes in the town of Gympie and the city of Brisbane, among others in the state of Queensland, most affected last week and where cleaning tasks are being carried out due to the forecast of another storm starting today.

The Australian authorities, which have deployed 900 soldiers for cleaning and humanitarian aid tasks, have recorded the death of five people in NSW – four in Lismore and one on the Central Coast – and nine in Queensland.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told public broadcaster ABC that some 145,000 people have applied for government disaster aid and estimated that the costs of the floods will amount to billions of dollars. EFE


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