Sydney floods affect 50,000 residents of Australia’s largest city

RICHMOND, Australia –

Hundreds of homes have been flooded in and around Australia’s largest city in a flood emergency that was causing problems for 50,000 people, authorities said on Tuesday.

Emergency response teams carried out 100 overnight rescues of people trapped in cars on flooded roads or in flooded houses in the Sydney area, State Emergency Service manager Ashley Sullivan said.

Days of torrential rain have caused dams to burst and watercourses to overflow, triggering a fourth flood emergency in 16 months in parts of the city of 5 million people.

Evacuation orders and warnings to prepare to leave their homes were given to 50,000 people, up from 32,000 on Monday, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said.

“This event is far from over. Please don’t be complacent, wherever you are. Be careful when you drive on our roads. There is still a substantial risk of flash flooding throughout our state,” Perrottet said.

The New South Wales state government declared a disaster in 23 local government areas overnight, triggering financial assistance from the federal government for flood victims.

Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke acknowledged the skill and commitment of rescue teams to prevent any deaths or serious injuries on the fourth day of the flood emergency.

Parts of southern Sydney had been lashed by more than 20 centimeters of rain in 24 hours, more than 17% of the city’s annual average, Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Jonathan How said.

Severe weather warnings of heavy rain remained in effect in Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Tuesday. Warnings also extended north of Sydney along the coast and into the Hunter Valley.

The worst flooding was along the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system along Sydney’s northern and western fringes.

“The good news is that by tomorrow afternoon, it looks like it will be mostly dry but of course we remind people that these floods will remain very high long after the rain has stopped,” How said.

“There was a lot of rain overnight and that is actually seeing some rivers peak for a second time. So it should take many days, if not a week, to start to see these floods start to recede,” added How.

Residents of Lansvale, in south-west Sydney, were shocked at the speed at which their area was flooded and the increasing frequency of such flooding.

“Well, it happened in 1986 and 1988, then it didn’t happen for 28 years and so 2016 and 2020 and now it’s happened four times this year,” a Lansvale resident identified only as Terry told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television. let your house flood.

Wild weather and mountainous seas along the New South Wales coast thwarted plans to tow a wrecked cargo ship with 21 crew members to the safety of the open sea.

The ship ran out of power after leaving Wollongong Harbour, south of Sydney, on Monday morning and was at risk of being stranded by 8-meter waves and 30-knot (34 mph) winds hitting cliffs.

An attempt to tow the ship with tugboats in the open sea ended when a towing line broke in a 35-foot swell Monday night, Port Authority Executive Director Philip Holliday said.

The ship held its position Tuesday farther offshore than Monday with two anchors and the help of two tugboats. The original plan had been for the ship’s crew to repair her engine at sea. The new plan was to tow the ship to Sydney when the weather and sea conditions calmed down on Wednesday, Holliday said.

“We’re in a better position than we were yesterday,” Holliday said. “We are in relative safety.”

Perrottet described the response of the tugboat crews on Monday to save the ship as “heroic”.

“I want to thank the men and women who were on those teams last night for the heroic work they put in under incredibly treacherous conditions. To have an 11-meter swell, to experience and carry out that work is incredibly impressive,” said Perrottet.


McGuirk reported from Canberra, Australia.

Leave a Comment