Sydney, Australia, March 23 (efe-epa).- The Australian Defense Force was deploying helicopters and troops to the state of New South Wales on Monday to support flooding search and rescue tasks, as intense rain may force the evacuation 15,000 more people.
“Australian Defense Force (ADF) helicopters will today deploy to NSW to support search and rescue activities for the flood emergency,” Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud and Acting Defense Minister Marise Payne said in a joint statement.
“Additional ADF personnel and equipment will also deploy this week to assist with the clearance and recovery operation.”
The government of NSW, the most populous state in Australia, had requested defense assistance, which could see the deployment of between 500 to 1,000 personnel and engineering support for the cleaning tasks, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told journalists in Canberra.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney that after weather worsened overnight “we now have warnings for an additional 15,000 people that may need to be evacuated” following the 18,000 residents who have already been moved due to torrential rains and floods.
The areas of concern include communities along the Hawkesbury River and the Northern Rivers region, she said.
A helicopter and boat operation was also underway in northwest Sydney to rescue 500 people trapped from 200 homes near the Colo River.
Berejiklian warned of heavy rainfall on Tuesday and although the weather is set to improve on Wednesday, “we envisage that even when the rain stops and some of these coastal communities, the rivers will keep rising.”
Morrison said that the torrential rains were not just a coastal event.
“NSW, south-western Queensland and east and west Australia have been affected by inland flooding. Brisbane and the Gold Coast have been impacted by heavy rain and that is causing flash flooding,” he said.
Authorities have also warned of potential landslides, floods and torrential rains of more than 100 millimeters that could pose a serious risk to lives in southern Queensland. EFE-EPA