Thousands of people on Australia's east coast are fleeing their homes after the New South Wales (NSW) state authorities issued over 100 evacuations orders in flood-hit areas, local media reported on Wednesday.
According to NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, more than 85,000 people are under evacuation orders or warnings as heavy rainfall and floods continue in several areas.
“Currently, we have 108 evacuation orders in place. We have 56 evacuation warnings now that are affecting around 85,000 people across New South Wales. That's up from 50,000 yesterday,” Perrottet told reporters during a joint news conference along with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney, who visited the flood-affected state on Wednesday.
"If there's an evacuation warning in place in your area, please get ready to evacuate. If the evacuation order is in place, please leave," he urged the local people.
The state government has so far established 11 evacuation centers to provide shelters to affected people.
The state Bureau of Meteorology also issued an alert about the possible life-threatening flash flood from heavy to intense rainfall for Mid North Coast and Northern Tablelands.
"Severe weather warning remains current for Mid North Coast and parts of the northern tablelands. This is for heavy rainfall and damaging wind gusts for today, with localized intense rainfall possible that could lead to life-threatening flash flooding," said the Bureau of Meteorology.
Meanwhile, the Australian government also deployed more defense forces to help the state authorities in emergency and relief efforts.
Albanese also announced that his government already approved disaster recovery payments to help the people in flood-affected areas.
Under the plan, the government will provide 1,000 Australian dollars (US$678) to adults and $400 for every child who is eligible for this assistance, he explained.
"The disaster recovery allowance will also be made available to assist employees and sole traders who experience a loss of income as a direct result of this disaster," said the prime minister.
The latest floods in New South Wales are the fourth in the last 18 months.
In March, at least 12 people died and hundreds of properties were damaged due to heavy flooding./aa