Express, by Aliss Higham: Flooding has struck New South Wales in Australia following a barrage of rain lasting several days, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes. Locals looked on hopelessly as water took hold of parts of the mid-north east coast of Australia in what is being dubbed the worst flooding in 50 years.
New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the downpour across the state was worse than initially expected, especially for those living in low-lying areas around Sydney’s northwest.
They said: “Yesterday, we were hoping it will only be a one-in-20-year event, now it looks like a one-in-50-year event.”
Evacuations took place throughout the night as fast-moving waters caused widespread destruction.
Television and social media footage showed fast-moving water destroying homes, covering roads, and breaking trees.
Major roads and schools across the state have been closed due to the chaos.
Sydney’s main water supply, the Warragamba Dam, has spilt over, causing river levels to rise to dangerous levels.
The situation goes from bad to worse, as meteorologists said the downpour is set to continue for several more days.
Flood risk warnings are in place for 13 areas, including Sydney.
Some areas expected to get up to 7.9 inches (200 millimetres) of rain.
Emergency crews have responded to around 6,000 calls for help since the rain started on Thursday, including nearly 700 direct pleas for rescue.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison offered funds for those forced to flee.
He wrote on Facebook: “The situation in NSW remains very serious, with more rain expected over coming days on top of the devastating flooding already impacting much of the Mid North Coast and Sydney areas.
“There is still more rainfall expected over coming days, and the recovery will be significant.
“Please continue to follow the advice of your local authorities, and stay safe.”
The extreme weather has also affected Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine delivery across NSW, disrupting the country’s plans to deliver the first doses to almost six million people over the next few weeks.
Speaking at a television briefing Australian Acting Chief Medical Officer Michael Kidd said: “We have to wait and see what happens with the weather in the coming days.”
The flooding comes in stark contrast to bush and wildfires that have plagued the area over recent years.
In later 2019 and early 2020, seven percent of NSW land was scorched in raging wildfires.
There have also been new warnings from meteorologists that two weather systems could collide on Monday night through to Tuesday morning, creating a “last blast” of rain and storms that could last until Wednesday.
“In fires, in floods, in earthquakes, in the fury of the great deep, in calamities by sea and by land, the warning is given that God’s Spirit will not always strive with men.” Last Day Events, page 26.2.