Thousands more flee as Sydney floods track north

Published July 7, 2022
Water level is seen increasing in the residential area from the overflowing Hawkesbury River in the northwestern Sydney suburb of Windsor on Wednesday.—AFP
Water level is seen increasing in the residential area from the overflowing Hawkesbury River in the northwestern Sydney suburb of Windsor on Wednesday.—AFP

SYDNEY: Thousands of people on Australia’s east coast fled their homes on Wednesday as torrential rains tracked north after unleashing floods in Sydney that submerged communities, roads and bridges under mud-brown water.

New South Wales authorities issued fresh flood alerts north of Australia’s largest city and warned that rising, rain-swollen rivers still posed a danger in parts of Sydney despite easing rainfall in the city.

“This event is far from over,” the state’s Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

Since the floods began over the weekend, emergency services have issued more than 100 evacuation orders.

A total 85,000 people have been told to leave their homes immediately or be ready to depart imminently so they will not be stranded by rising floodwaters.

Across Sydney’s western fringe, rivers broke their banks and large areas have been transformed into inland lakes, with mud-brown waters invading homes while cutting off roads and bridges.

Prime Minister Anthony Alba­nese visited the affected area on Wednesday, promising to look for “long-term solutions” after multiple flooding disasters across Aust­ralia’s east coast in the past 18 months.

‘Floods, bushfires’

Albanese said that while “Australia has always been subject of floods, of bushfires”, scientists have warned climate change would make such events more frequent and intense. “What we are seeing, unfortunately, is that play out,” he said.

There were 21 flood rescues across New South Wales overnight, and on Wednesday more than 1,000 emergency service workers were in the field.

The federal government has declared a natural disaster in 23 flooded parts of the state, unlocking relief payments to stricken residents.

Many people affected have lived through successive east coast floods that struck in 2021 and then again in March this year when more than 20 people were killed. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the weather system was expected to move off coast later this week.

Andrew Hall, chief executive of the Insurance Council of Australia, said he expected the Sydney floods would be declared a “catastrophe” by the insurance industry.

He said 2,700 insurance claims have been lodged by Tuesday from Sydney alone, and more were anticipated as people were able to return to their homes.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Militancy redux
Updated 12 Aug, 2022

Militancy redux

There is fear and confusion all around, and it is for the state to bring clarity to the situation.
Distorting history
12 Aug, 2022

Distorting history

WHEN history is co-opted by ideologically overzealous elements, expect the facts to die a quick death, and...
Dengue danger
12 Aug, 2022

Dengue danger

WITH rains continuing across most of the country, a dengue outbreak can quickly become a major headache for health...
Khorasani’s killing
11 Aug, 2022

Khorasani’s killing

OMAR Khalid Khorasani, a dreaded TTP ‘commander’, lived by the sword and very much died by the sword. But beyond...
Gross overreaction
Updated 11 Aug, 2022

Gross overreaction

The government has already done considerable damage to itself with its indelicate handling of the situation.
Dadu deaths
11 Aug, 2022

Dadu deaths

DISEASES that are usually mild and preventable in countries with developed healthcare systems often prove to be...