James Taylor paddles a kayak down a flooded residential street on his way to check on a friend's home, after heavy rains inundated the area with floodwaters in the McGraths Hill suburb of Sydney, Australia, July 6, 2022. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Floods on Australia’s east coast have forced thousands more to flee their homes. New South Wales state authorities on Wednesday issued fresh flood warnings affecting areas north of Sydney. Even in the metropolis itself, rivers carrying floods continue to pose a danger. “This event is far from over,” emphasized the Prime Minister of New South Wales, Dominic Perrottet.

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Heavy rainfall has been causing flooding in the region since the weekend. The authorities have already published more than 100 evacuation orders. A total of 85,000 people were asked to leave their homes immediately due to the risk of flooding or to prepare to leave their homes without much warning.

On the western outskirts of Sydney, rivers burst their banks and large areas of land turned into lakes. Muddy water penetrated houses, roads and bridges were no longer passable.

Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, visited the affected areas on Wednesday and pledged to seek “long-term solutions”. The federal government declared 23 flooded areas in New South Wales a state of disaster to facilitate aid payments to affected residents.

Severe flooding has repeatedly occurred on Australia’s east coast over the past 18 months. According to climate scientists, such extreme weather events will increase in the course of global warming.

The head of Australia’s Insurance Council of Australia, Andrew Hall, said insurance companies had already reported losses from natural disasters amounting to AUD 5 billion (EUR 3.3 billion) this year.