Sidney, Australia, Mar 4 (EFE).- Australia will deploy some 2,000 soldiers to help clean and remove debris in areas affected by heavy flooding caused by intense rains since last week that have killed 15 people, Defense Minister Peter Dutton reported Friday.
Rains have caused 10 deaths in the Queensland region, one of them Friday, and five in neighboring New South Wales, isolating dozens of communities and damaging thousands of homes and crops, killing or leaving cattle and wild animals such as koalas without food.
The 2,000 soldiers are ready to deploy when required by local or regional authorities to clear debris, manage livestock remains or open roads, as well as provide their vehicles and helicopters to reach inaccessible places.
Soldiers, who already carried out more than a hundred helicopter rescues since the start of the crisis, will “immediately respond” to the various communities in Queensland and New South Wales affected by the strong storm when requested, according to Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton.
Cleaning tasks are “massive” said the Rural Fire Service of New South Wales in a Friday tweet, accompanied by images of streets in the Northern Rivers full of debris, adding that everything “is going slow” due to the large number of homes and businesses affected.
In New South Wales, some 400,000 people remain under evacuation orders or alerts Friday, especially in western Sydney, where some neighborhoods are submerged by muddy waters.
Likewise, the town of Lismore and other areas of the Northern Rivers continue to suffer from the severe impact of the floods, as some towns remain cut off, while the inhabitants of Brisbane and other towns in Queensland carry out clean-up and damage assessment tasks.
According to the Council of Insurers of Australia, more than 67,500 claims have been registered for the floods for a value of about AUD 1 billion ($ 735 million.)
Flooding comes as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a Monday report that Australia would face “major impacts” and “irreversible changes” to its natural systems due to the climate crisis.
“Let’s face it. It’s climate change. I’ve never seen so many natural disasters and it looks like we have a lot more to deal with. More cyclones and more floods,” Queensland Chief Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters Friday in Brisbane, before the storm forecast on the east coast in the coming days. EFE