Australia flood deaths rise to 13, Sydney under alert
Sydney, Australia, Mar 2 (EFE).- At least 13 people lost their lives as a result of floods that hit the east coast of Australia, while authorities Wednesday put Sydney, the country’s most populous city, on “maximum alert.”
The floods, caused by torrential rains recorded since the beginning of last week and which are still continuing in some parts of the southeast, mainly affect the states of Queensland, where nine deaths have been registered, and New South Wales, which reported four deaths.
Authorities said they believe the death toll will increase as several people remain missing.
Heavy rain, moving from Queensland to the southern coast of New South Wales, hit the town of Ballina and other towns Wednesday in the Northern Rivers, where residents have been ordered to evacuate.
Faced with the possibility of floods, New South Wales authorities have put several districts of Sydney, with 5.3 million inhabitants, on “high alert,” Regional Emergencies Head Steph Cook said Wednesday, according to public network ABC.
One of the points of greatest concern is the Warragamba dam, southwest of Sydney, which “has already reached its (maximum) capacity and has begun to overflow,” the New South Wales Emergency Service reported on Twitter, putting on alert some 130,000 residents living in the vicinity.
Floods have also affected some 20,000 homes in the towns of Gympie and the city of Brisbane, among other towns in Queensland, the most affected state last week and where cleaning tasks are being carried out due to the forecast of the arrival of another storm to end of this week.
Australia’s Insurers Council reported it had received more than 48,200 claims for property damage due to flooding, while Australian Services Minister Linda Reynolds told ABC station that 90,000 applications for disaster grants had been filed until Tuesday. EFE