18,000 evacuated in Australia as floods worsen
Published: 04:15 PM, 22 March 2021
Swollen rivers cut off roads and bridges, and almost 200 schools in New South Wales will remain shut on Tuesday
About 18,000 people have been evacuated from severe floods across New South Wales (NSW) in Australia, with more heavy rainfall predicted.
The state's entire coast is now under a severe weather warning.
Days of torrential downpours have caused rivers and dams to overflow around Sydney - the state capital - and in south-east Queensland.
The military is being deployed to help with search and rescue, in what has been called a "one-in-50-years event".
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has forecast "increased rainfall, strong winds, damaging surf and abnormally high tides" in New South Wales on Tuesday.
It also said that some 10 million people across every state and territory except Western Australia were now under a weather warning.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said no deaths had been reported by late Monday - describing it as "a miracle given what we have been through".
But there has been widespread damage in the affected areas, which are home to about a third of Australia's 25 million people.
Berejiklian said many of the communities "being battered by the floods" had been affected by bushfires and drought the previous summer.
"I don't know any time in state history where we have had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic," she said.
PM Scott Morrison has offered funds for those forced to evacuate. He told parliament there was "serious risk still ahead". - BBC