This general aerial view shows flooding in North Wagga Wagga during a helicopter tour by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as she reviews the disaster zone on March 7, 2012. — Photo by AFP

SYDNEY: Australian floods have inundated close to 2,000 homes in New South Wales, an official said Saturday, as the surging waters appeared to claim the life of a man in the state's north.

Eastern Australia has been hit by heavy downpours in recent days, causing swollen river systems to pour through towns and villages in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, damaging crops, roads and bridges.

In badly-hit southern New South Wales, more homes were evacuated Saturday as the State Emergency Service said some 1,963 homes had been inundated, mostly around the major inland town of Wagga Wagga and the surrounding regions.

“There's further assessments being done at present to see whether they will crack the 2,000 mark which sadly I think it will do,” State Emergency Service (SES) spokesman Phil Campbell told AFP.

“This is all over-floorboard flooding. It is the significant stuff that causes so much damage and it does range from water up to the ceiling to down to just creeping into the house.”

The SES said while the floods were now moving more slowly, the town of Darlington Point was still under watch ahead of the Murrumbidgee River's expected peak on Sunday.

Australia's southeast has been hit by torrential rains, flash flooding and overflowing rivers in recent days which have seen two men drown after their vehicles were swept away by floodwaters.

Police said Saturday that the body of an 83-year-old man had been found close to his submerged utility truck on a farm near the town of Bourke, in the north of the state.

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