Thousands told to evacuate before 'life-threatening' Sydney flood
SYDNEY, July 3, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Thousands of Australians were ordered to
evacuate their homes in Sydney on Sunday as torrential rain battered the
country's largest city and floodwaters inundated its outskirts.
Roads across the city were cut off and authorities said at least 18
evacuation orders were in place in western Sydney, an area that was inundated
with severe flooding in March.
"This is a life-threatening emergency situation," Stephanie Cooke, emergency
services minister for the state of New South Wales, told reporters.
Australia has been at the sharp end of climate change, with droughts, deadly
bushfires, bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef and floods becoming
more common and intense as global weather patterns change.
With more wild weather expected in the coming days, Cooke described the
floods as a "rapidly evolving situation" and warned that people should be
"prepared to evacuate at short notice".
The city's Warragamba Dam began to spill in the early hours of Sunday
morning, she said, well ahead of authorities' predictions.
While in Camden, a southwestern suburb of Sydney home to more than 100,000
people, local shops and a petrol station were inundated by floodwaters.
Cooke asked those living along a 500-kilometre (310-mile) stretch of
Australia's east coast, both north and south of Sydney, to consider
cancelling their school holiday travel plans because of the weather.
Emergency services conducted 29 flood rescues and were called out more than
1,400 times in the previous 24 hours, she said.
The east coast flooding event in March -- caused by heavy storms that
devastated Sydney's west -- claimed 20 lives.