Flooding on Australia’s east coast is “far from over” and has spread, officials in the country have warned, as they plan to evacuate thousands of additional residents on Tuesday.
Torrential rains have been raging in south-eastern Australia for days, swelling waterways in New South Wales, the most populous state. Another deluge worsened the situation and extended the affected areas overnight Monday through Tuesday, and residents of Sydney’s northwestern outskirts were preparing to leave their homes in the face of rising waters.
“As we advised yesterday, 18,000 people have been evacuated and unfortunately we have warned 15,000 more people of the possibility of an evacuation,” said NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian . No deaths were reported, nor any seriously injured.
A worsening situation
The Australian defense forces will join the rescue operations on Tuesday, the government said, adding that two helicopters would be used to hoist residents stranded in remote areas.
“Unfortunately this situation is far from over,” the Meteorological Bureau warned in a tweet Monday to Tuesday, while half of New South Wales is on weather alert.
On Monday, eight million residents were urged to avoid unnecessary travel and to work from home when they can. Some areas received 250 mm of precipitation in 24 hours.
Some 850 rescue operations
The contrast is stark with late 2019, when this region faced unprecedented forest fires and water restrictions, due to a long period of drought.
Rescue services have so far responded to more than 10,000 calls for help and carried out some 850 rescue operations.
The researchers warned that Australia is expected to be particularly exposed to extreme weather events due to global warming.