Residents on the east coast of Australia, affected by heavy flooding, this Thursday (03.25.2021) revealed the extent of the damage as the water receded.
Heavy rains inundated cities in the region, destroying crops and killing two people.
Now that the clouds have given way to blue skies, thousands of people in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, have been able to return to their homes to see the damage caused by the worst flooding in more than half a century.
Hundreds of volunteers and firefighters help remove road dirt and debris from property.
“Shepherds want to work for communities to get back to normalcy as soon as possible,” said Ben Sheppard, a rural fire service analyst.
“In some areas, it could be months or even weeks,” he told AFP.
In the largest, most climate-affected region, many communities are isolated due to rising rivers. More than 20,000 people could not return home.
Authorities urged people to be vigilant during the floods. “We believe most rivers have reached their peak, but high hopes make us anxious,” warned Prime Minister Gladys Perezkillian.
“Unpredictable flooding will continue in communities that have not seen so much rain in 50 or 100 years,” he added.
Extreme levels of flood danger were announced in at least 50 places in the last 50 to 100 years.
Two men passed away
Emergency services have responded to more than 11,000 requests since the disaster began last week and rescued thousands trapped in the water.
Authorities on Wednesday found the remains of a 25-year-old Pakistani boy trapped in his car in 20-foot floodwaters in northwest Sydney.
Hours later, Queensland police announced that the lifeless body of another man trapped in a vehicle had been found in a river on the Gold Coast.
Inland areas such as Mori were flooded, where television films flooded the city, splitting it in two by a river.
The Meteorological Service forecasts sun in the most affected areas in the coming days. Near Sydney, near the Hawksbury River, the urgency now is to bring food, medical supplies and basic necessities to isolated areas.
Thousands of homes and businesses have been affected by the floods. The insurer has so far received more than 22,000 claims.
The region, which was hit by devastating fires a year ago before the monsoon rains, was experiencing a prolonged drought.
Some coastal areas receive more than a meter of water a week, which equates to two-thirds of a normal rainfall year.
Scientists have warned Australia that frequent and serious events can be expected as a result of climate change.
mg (afp, Reuters)