About 18,000 people have been evacuated from severely flooded areas of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, as heavy rains continue to fall on the east coast.
The rain lasted for days, causing water to overflow into rivers and dams around Sydney, the state capital, and in south-eastern Queensland.
The army was sent to find and help people. This is considered a “50 years with 1.”
The floods are causing widespread damage in the affected areas, which are home to about a third of Australia’s population (a country of about 25 million).
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said many ‘flooded’ communities are also affected by wildfires and droughts in the summer of 2020.
“I haven’t seen a time in history when the state has had to go through such extreme weather conditions, so quickly, in the middle of a pandemic.”
The emergency aid agency embarked on the rescue. A stranded family was evacuated from their flooded home by helicopter. The helicopter also rescued an infant family from a sunken house west of Sydney.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says precipitation, up to 90 cm in some areas, is an “unusual” phenomenon.
On March 22, authorities were very concerned about residents of the lowlands north and west of Sydney, the central coast of New South Wales and the Hawkesbury Valley when flooding hit the mainland .
What did the floods destroy?
Flooding devastated New South Wales, forcing 15,000 people on the state’s north central coast to evacuate along with 3,000 others in Sydney, Australian authorities said.
Flooded rivers cut roads and bridges and forced nearly 200 schools to close on March 22. Recorded footage showed cattle drifting past the flooded areas and many rows of houses sinking to the windows.
— Claudia Jambor (@claudiajambor) March 20, 2021
Our @FRNSW flood rescue crews have had a busy afternoon responding to storm and flood incidents on the state’s Mid North Coast. We assisted @NSWSES in rescuing six people from a caravan park in Nambucca Heads whilst in Kempsey, we rescued two people and a dog, Cookie. pic.twitter.com/YI3RwL8cqa
— Paul Baxter (@PaulBaxterFRNSW) March 19, 2021
Crews worked for 3 hours overnight to safely and slowly evacuate 5 adults and 4 kids after they found themselves isolated by moving floodwater. The silver lining was that everyone arrived to the evac centre in style – via our big red trucks. pic.twitter.com/6E5PptL7og
— Fire and Rescue NSW (@FRNSW) March 21, 2021
On March 22, the water levels in the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, bordering Sydney to the north and west, were higher than the terrible flooding that occurred in 1961.
Additionally, the Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main water source, began to overflow for the first time in five years. Authorities said they had to discharge around 500 gigalit / day, equivalent to the volume of water in Sydney Harbor.
Newcastle Airport, 17 km north of Sydney, suspended flights after the runway flooded. A small tornado hit western Sydney on March 20, causing damage to homes and landslides, Australian authorities said.
In southeast Queensland, flash floods also affect Brisbane and the Gold Coast on weekends. The situation is expected to worsen on March 23.
Ellen Brabin, a resident of Jamisontown, said she had not seen such severe flooding in over 40 years. “I’ve seen all the flooding and everything, but I’ve never had to evacuate like this,” she said.