In Sydney, thousands of people have to evacuate their homes because of an urgent flood warning. After heavy rains, evacuation orders were in place for 18 western suburbs of Australia’s largest city on Sunday. New South Wales Disaster Relief Secretary Stephanie Cooke warned people of a “life-threatening emergency situation”.
“We now face threats on multiple fronts — flash floods, riverine flooding and coastal erosion,” Cooke said. Some outskirts of Sydney were already under water on Sunday. Several streets were flooded. The heavy rains caused a dam in south-west Sydney to overflow overnight. In Camden, a southwestern suburb of Sydney with more than 100,000 residents, shops and a gas station were flooded.
Lower areas in the southwest of the metropolis were a good 1.50 meters under water on Sunday, as photos show. The New South Wales State Emergency Service recommended evacuations for some areas on its website and warned it should continue to rain at least until Monday. According to media reports, the Sydney area has already had four times as much rain as usual in the entire month of July.
According to the minister, the fire department received more than 1,400 emergency calls in 24 hours. The rescue workers had to go out 29 times to rescue people from the floods.
Cooke urged residents of a 500km stretch of coastline both north and south of Sydney not to travel because of the storm. With more rain expected in the coming days, they must prepare to vacate their homes “at short notice.”
The same region had already been affected by severe flooding in March. The flooding on Australia’s east coast killed 20 people.
Meteorologist Jonathan How told ABC that in Menangle, about 70 kilometers southwest of Sydney, the river level had already reached 16.5 metres, just below the record level of 16.8 meters set in April 2022.