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Australia floods claim the first fatality, more evacuations as clean-up begins


More than 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as torrential rain

sparked dangerous flash floods, and authorities issued new evacuation orders on

Wednesday for residents in Sydney’s western regions to move to safe zones.

A man’s body was found in a car trapped by floodwaters on Wednesday, the first

death linked to wild weather across Australia in recent days that has submerged

houses swept away cars and livestock and cut off entire towns.

More than 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as torrential rain

sparked dangerous flash floods, and authorities issued new evacuation orders on

Wednesday for residents in Sydney’s western regions to move to safe zones.

In some other areas, a massive clean-up operation began as sunny skies returned

for the first time in days, and food and other emergency supplies were flown in over

swamped roads.

Homes have been submerged, livestock swept away and crops drowned on a large

scale. There have also been many animal rescues, with watercraft used to move

dogs, cattle, and even an emu, away from the floodwaters. In the country’s arid

center, water cascaded down Uluru, a rare phenomenon described by the national

park on social media as “unique and extraordinary.”

RECOVERY BEGINS

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Wednesday that heavy-load

helicopters would be prepared to transport food to supermarkets where supplies

were running short.

“The expanse of water that went right across that region was quite devastating to

see,” Morrison said in parliament after he toured flood-affected areas by helicopter.

Several hundred Australian Defence Force personnel will be sent to flood-affected

areas in the country’s east over the next few days to help in the recovery,

Australia’s Emergency Management minister David Littleproud said on

Wednesday.


Lakshmi Madhusoodanan

MAR 24, 2021

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