Oceania – Tens of thousands of Australians forced to flee floodwaters

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More than 150,000 Australians are on evacuation orders due to flooding in the provinces of Queensland and New South Wales.

Flooded street in Lawrence, New South Wales on March 1, 2022.

AFP

Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in Australia’s east coast on Tuesday, forcing residents to take refuge on roofs and bridges, prompting authorities to evacuate tens of thousands of people. In total, more than 150,000 people have been affected by the eviction orders, according to AFP.

Dozens of rivers in Queensland and New South Wales have been warned of flood danger, with “rain bombs” pouring up to a meter a week in some areas. Many rivers have already broken their banks and flooded cities, forcing residents to flee or take refuge at heights.

“We have seen people trapped on the roofs for hours, we have seen children being rescued, we have seen people stranded on bridges,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Barrott said.

Thousands were rescued and eight died. Authorities fear more casualties. During a spectacular rescue broadcast by ABC, a helicopter crew licked two people from a muddy stream from the sloping roof of their house.

In Lismore, nine people were missing in the worst flooding in city history. Local MP Janelle Safin had to swim as she was trapped in the floodwaters.

Emergency services were overflowing with calls and temporary boats appeared, with locals trying to evacuate their neighbors. Shelters have been established in primary schools, summer camps and pension clubs.

Heavy rain in Sydney

Near the town of Crapton, water came up to the roofs of buildings, knocking down roads and abandoning livestock.

And south, Sydney residents are experiencing another day of rain and are being urged to prepare for the “big flood”.

Australia has been hit hard by climate change: droughts, deadly wildfires, Great Barrier Reef flooding events and floods are becoming more frequent and more intense due to global climate evolution.

(AFP)

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