Sydney flooding: 32,000 residents may have to evacuate

Sydney, Australia –

More than 30,000 residents of Sydney and surrounding areas were told to evacuate or prepare to leave their homes on Monday as Australia’s largest city is facing its worst flooding in 18 months.

Parts of the city of 5 million people are facing a fourth emergency flood in a year and a half after torrents of rain since Friday caused dams to overflow and water mains to burst edge.

“The latest information we have is that it is highly likely that the flooding will be worse than any of the other three floods that those areas have had in the last 18 months,” said the Secretary of Emergency Management. Murray Watt told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The current flooding could affect areas that have managed to stay dry during previous floods, Watt added.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said 32,000 people had been affected by evacuation orders and warnings.

“You can expect that number to go up throughout the week,” Perrottet said.

Emergency services have carried out 116 flood rescues in recent days, 83 of them as of 9pm on Sunday, he said. Hundreds of requests for help were made Monday morning.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology director Jane Golding said some areas between Newcastle, north of Sydney and Wollongong, south of Sydney had experienced more than a meter of rain in the previous 24 hours. Some have received more than 1.5 meters.

“The system that produced this weather shows signs that it will ease tomorrow, but throughout the day more rain is expected,” Golding said.

She said there will be rain across the coast of New South Wales, including Sydney, throughout the week.

Flood risk is highest along the Hawkesbury River, northwest of Sydney, and the Nepean River west of Sydney.

“The water flows very quickly,” said Golding. “The river is very dangerous and we have some more rain, meaning the risk of flash flooding is not over yet.”

State Emergency Services Commissioner Carlene York said strong winds toppled trees and damaged roofs and roads. She advises against unnecessary travel.

Off the coast of New South Wales, a cargo ship with 21 crew members is adrift at sea after losing power. Local reports said the ship leaving Wollongong on Monday morning was anchored near the coast and a tugboat was working to keep it off the nearby cliffs and cliffs.

A larger capacity tug is approaching the site to tow the stranded cargo ship out to sea. Plans to transport the ship’s crew to safety were abandoned because of bad weather.

Mayor Theresa Fedeli of Camden on the Nepean River said repeated flooding was damaging to members of a riverside community south-west of Sydney.

“It is just devastating. They just kept saying ‘devastating, not again,’ Fedeli said.

“I just kept saying… ‘We have to be strong, we’ll get through this.’ But you know, it’s really hard on a lot of people,” she added.

Perrottet said governments and communities needed to adapt to massive flooding that was becoming more common across Australia’s most populous state.

“We’re seeing these floods more often, there’s no doubt about that,” Perrottet said.

“To see what we’re seeing in Sydney, certainly these events are becoming more common. And governments need to regulate and make sure we respond to the changing environment in which we live. we are facing,” he added.

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