Natural disaster declared amid severe Sydney flooding
Sydney, Australia, Jul 5 (EFE).- The Australian authorities have declared floods in the state of New South Wales a natural disaster as evacuation orders or warnings affected at least 50,000 people on Tuesday.
More than 20 areas of the country’s largest city of Sydney and the NSW coast are under the natural disaster declaration as a result of the torrential rains and devastating floods that have forced to the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.
“We have seen that some of these communities have been impacted by flooding for the third or fourth time in 18 months, which is very distressing for the residents of these communities,” Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said in a statement on Monday night.
The declaration of a natural disaster in the areas affected by the floods, where 100 troops have been deployed, will allow the authorities to adopt emergency measures and access financial aid.
There are 102 evacuation orders in place, with evacuation orders or warnings affecting at least 50,000 people, and 19,000 homes without power, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said Tuesday.
Sydney, with more than 5 million residents, as well as the surrounding towns of the Central Coast, Hunter Valley and Illawara, recorded around 200 millimeters of rain on Monday.
Some of these places have received up to 800 millimeters of rain in the last four days, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
These strong storms that hit the east coast again and that could last throughout the week, have heightened rivers to the point of flooding bridges and roads, isolating entire communities and leaving thousands of homes without electricity, according to public broadcaster ABC.
“Our dams are full. Our river channels are also full. Our streams continue to contribute to the river systems already full and as a result, if we get a sudden downpour in a certain location, it can cause flash flooding and river rises very quickly,” NSW Emergency Management Minister Steph Cooke warned at a press conference in Sydney on Tuesday.
In March, several areas of NSW, including western Sydney and Lismore, about 600 kilometers north of the city, were affected by devastating floods, which claimed more than 20 lives and caused millions of dollars in material damage.
The natural disaster forced Australian authorities to declare a national state of emergency for the first time in the country’s history, a mechanism legislated in 2020 after a series of devastating bushfires. EFE