Tens of thousands of Sydney residents told to evacuate as rain floods suburbs

Emergency crews rescue two ponies from a flooded area in Milbera, Sydney, Australia on July 3, 2022. NSW State Emergency Service/Handbook via REUTERS

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  • It was the third major flood this year in some Sydney suburbs
  • 30,000 New South Wales residents face evacuation
  • The crew is being rescued and the army is helping the stranded families

SYDNEY, July 4 (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Sydney residents were issued fresh evacuation orders on Monday after incessant rain triggered flooding in some low-lying suburbs for the third time this year.

An intense low-pressure system off Australia’s east coast is forecast to bring heavy rain across New South Wales until Monday, with many parts of the state hit by around a month’s worth by the weekend.

Since Sunday, about 30,000 residents in the state of New South Wales have been told to leave or warned they could receive evacuation orders.

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Desperation mounted after floods engulfed homes, farms and bridges in several suburbs west of Australia’s largest city.

“It’s devastating. We’re in despair,” Camden Mayor Teresa Fedali said.

“Most of them have come out of the last flood, got their homes back, got their businesses back, and unfortunately we’re saying it’s happening again.”

Many areas received more than 200mm of rain, with some areas receiving up to 350mm since Saturday. read more

Some areas could approach or exceed the flood levels seen in March 2021, and the Meteorological Department warned in March and April this year. Although the severe weather system may weaken late Monday, the risk of major flooding remains.

Rescue efforts are underway to rescue 21 crew members from a cargo ship that lost power south of Sydney, local media reported.

“It’s been a very difficult time to keep this flood event behind others for months. It’s been very challenging,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrott said during a televised media briefing.

Paul O’Neill, a resident of flood-hit Wiseman’s Ferry, said he was taking food supplies by boat to his family who were stranded after rising waters cut off access.

“The road has collapsed and hasn’t been repaired since the last flood, it hasn’t been touched. So now they’re closing our road access, then the boat, and now the only way to get home is by boat,” O’Neill told Reuters. .

Australia ‘prepared’

Footage on social media showed petrol stations, houses, cars and street signs partially under water, while rubbish bins floated along flooded roads. Army vehicles were seen driving through flooded streets to evacuate stranded families.

About 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain could fall over the next 24 hours along the New South Wales coast, 300 km (186 miles) south of Sydney from Newcastle, the Met Office said.

The weather can trigger flash floods and landslides, with river catchments already nearing full capacity after the La NiƱa event, usually associated with increased rainfall, has hit Australia’s east coast in the past two years.

Climate change is widely believed to be a contributing factor to more frequent extreme weather events, with the Climate Council saying Australia is “underprepared”.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said climate change must be taken “seriously” due to frequent flooding.

“The reality is we live in a changing climate,” Watt told ABC television.

Bad weather has delayed Monday’s scheduled 24-hour launch of a NASA rocket from the Arnhem Space Center in northern Australia, operator Equatorial Launch Australia said.

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Reporting by Renju Jose and Jill Gralow; Editing by Sam Holmes, Lincoln Feist and Edwina Gibbs

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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