Australians hit by devastating floodwaters began returning to their homes on Thursday as skies cleared and authorities accelerated clean-up efforts, though fresh evacuation orders were issued in some areas where water levels were still rising, APA reports citing Reuters.
Relentless rains for five straight days – the worst downpour in more than half a century – burst river banks, inundating homes, roads, bridges and farms and cutting off entire towns in Australia’s east. More than 40,000 people were forced to move to safe zones and two men were killed after their cars became trapped in floodwaters.
Water continued to flow from overloaded dams and rivers on Thursday, particularly in New South Wales state, leading authorities to urge caution.
“Even though the sun is now shining, the danger has not passed,” the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.
Rising floodwaters from the Mehi river split Moree, a regional town 650 kms (404 miles) northwest of Sydney, into two, emergency services said.
Moree resident Jaimee Maunder said the main road into the town had been cut, and that she had not been able to leave her home since the flooding intensified on Tuesday.
“We got some supplies before the floods hit,” Maunder told Reuters, adding that people in lower-lying areas had been evacuated to emergency facilities in the town. “You can’t drive through it, not when it’s flooding.”
The damage is more limited in the flat agricultural plains around Moree, where the drenching is expected to prime farmland ahead of the planting window next month for wheat, the country’s most important crop.
Source: Azeri-Press News Agency