Disasters & Accidents

Flooding forces 80,000 people to evacuate in eastern Australia

Sydney, Australia, March 8 (EFE).- Floods that have hit Australia’s east coast for more than two weeks forced authorities to evacuate some 80,000 people Tuesday in the region of New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, bringing the total death toll to 21.

Authorities found the bodies of two people trapped in a flash flood in western Sydney, bringing the death toll in New South Wales to eight, while in neighboring Queensland, hit last week by the storm, saw 13 fatalities.

Torrential rains, which hit Sydney and surrounding areas, forced authorities to order the evacuation of 80,000 people since last night, of which 60,000 of them live in 13 districts in western Sydney, the most populous city in Australia.

Images released by the media show completely flooded roads, as well as houses, cars and traffic signs almost submerged by the waters, especially in the town of Camden and the riverside areas in western Sydney.

“We are again seeing, unfortunately, record rainfall and the effects of major flooding on our river system,” New South Wales Emergency Services Commissioner Carlene York warned at a press conference in Sydney, saying that in the last 24 hours have made about 200 rescues.

After the heavy rains, which will last until at least Thursday with winds of up to 90 kilometers per hour, landslides and floods are feared.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Queensland, Australia’s third most populous state, cleanup and reconstruction efforts continue after flooding more than a week ago left more than 20,000 homes and businesses damaged, while a search still continues for a missing person.

The Queensland government estimates that the catastrophe will mean a loss of about $ 733 million, equivalent to 0.25 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of this region in the first quarter of the year.

Authorities, who plan to deploy some 5,000 soldiers by the end of the week for humanitarian aid and clean-up tasks in New South Wales and Queensland, reported Tuesday that more than 250,000 people have applied for disaster grants. EFE


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