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Australian flooding: 50,000 ordered to evacuate, disaster declared

Published July 05,2022
People paddle through a flooded street at Windsor on the outskirts of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, July 5, 2022 (AP)
Australia has declared a natural disaster after severe flooding hit the state of New South Wales on the country's eastern coast.

The declaration, which was made late on Monday, should enable the quick disbursal of emergency funds to affected areas. Greater Sydney in particular has experienced huge downpours since Friday.

According to the BBC, some parts of New South Wales have seen more rainfall in four days than the annual average for Greater London.

Evacuation orders applied to around 50,000 people as of Tuesday morning and hundreds of people requested emergency assistance during the night, Australian broadcaster ABC reported.

Emergency services were repeatedly called out to rescue members of the public. Almost 20,000 houses lost power and entire areas were under metres of water.

A powerful low-pressure weather system between Australia's east coast and New Zealand's North Island is driving moisture and waves towards New South Wales and causing the torrential rain.

Some of the areas affected were still in the process of recovering from historic flooding in February and March.

Extreme weather events have long afflicted Australia, and these have only been exacerbated by climate change in recent years. In mid-January, for example, large parts of the country were enduring a heatwave with temperatures of more than 50 degrees Celsius recorded in the west of the country.