Hundreds of thousands at risk as Australian floods spread - see some devastating pictures

Updated: Mar 10, 2022, 07:54 PM(IST)

Australia's east coast has been battered by torrential rains as tens of thousands of Australians fled from their homes and authorities evacuated a hospital on Wednesday (March 2)

Floods in Australia

Some of the Sydney residents are told by emergency services ordered to prepare to flee Wednesday as heavy rainfall barrelled down Australia's east coast, burying towns in floodwater. So far, 13 people have been killed. 

A week-long torrential downpour has swollen rivers and reservoirs past the bursting point, causing chaos in an area 800 kilometres long. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Evacuation warnings in place

From Brisbane to Sydney, more than 30 evacuation warnings are in place and several dams are overflowing, with some near Sydney under threat of bursting. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Residents take shelter

Terrified residents have sought refuge on higher ground, in make-shift evacuation centres, or by clambering into attics or onto rooftops praying for rescue by boat or helicopter.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Climate change to be blamed?

As per experts, a La Nina weather pattern has caused Sydney to experience its wettest summer in 30 years. 

Meteorologist Ben Domensino of @Weatherzone described the current storm system as an "atmospheric river" featuring a "long area of airborne moisture that is going in one direction."

Scientists say climate change is making Australia's floods, bushfires, cyclones and droughts more frequent and more intense.

(Photograph:AFP)

Temperatures are rising faster in Australia

Environmental expert Hilary Bambrick of the Queensland University of Technology said, "Despite decades of warnings from scientists about climate change, Australia is unprepared for the supercharged weather that it is now driving, such as the current floods," said 

"Australia is at the forefront of severe climate change. Temperatures are rising faster in Australia than the global average, and higher temperatures mean the atmosphere holds more moisture, meaning rainfall events are becoming more extreme."

(Photograph:AFP)

Experts have predict a 'long recovery' that could "take years" 

As the cleanup begins in northern areas which were hit first by the floods, many, like Mullumbimby resident Casey Whelan, predict a "long recovery" that could "take years." 

Whelan fled his home as the flooding worsened, but as water levels stabilised he used a kayak that had floated by and a broomstick as an oar to return. He found it "just destroyed." 

(Photograph:Twitter)

It could take months before things get back to normal

Fifty-three-year-old farmer James Clark said it would take weeks just to assess the damage. "I lost tools, I lost equipment, I have got farm machinery that's underwater. I didn't get it high enough. I guessed how high the flood was going to come and got gear up, but didn't get it up enough," he said.

"After a flood it could take months before things get back to normal. It's weeks even before you can walk around without, without sort of things being too wet underfoot."

(Photograph:AFP)

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