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”.
Some outskirts of Sydney were already under water on Sunday. Several streets were flooded and the Warragamba Dam, which supplies much of Sydney with drinking water, began to overflow. In Camden, a southwestern suburb of Sydney with more than 100,000 residents, shops and a gas station were flooded.
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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. As more rain is expected in the coming days, they must prepare to evacuate their homes at short notice.
The same region had already been affected by severe flooding in March. The floods on Australia’s east coast killed 20 people. The weather service warned that water levels in the region could rise at least as high as in March. The first dam had already overflowed.