20 killed as deadly floods continue to lash Australia

Sydney, March 8¬†Flash floods are continuing to lash Australia’s east coast, causing hundreds of people to flee their homes and has so far resulted in the deaths of 13 people in Queensland and seven in New South Wales (NSW), police said on Tuesday.

The police said the latest fatalities include two people, believed to be a mother and her adult son, whose car was swept into a stormwater canal in western Sydney, reports Xinhua news agency.

As of Tuesday, the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) had issued evacuation orders for regions stretching from the state’s northern border with Queensland through to its southern border with Victoria, with displaced residents being urged to seek shelter in evacuation centres.

NSW SES commissioner Carlene York told local media that they issued 11 evacuation orders affecting over 60,000 people.

York said many roads remained unpassable with helicopters and boats being used for emergencies and the SES was working with telecommunication providers to restore contact in many cut-off communities.

The relentless deluges have smashed previous records with one of the hardest hit areas being the rural community of Lismore in northern NSW, where five people drowned as waters rose to 14.5 metres over the weekend.

Distressed Lismore citizens and other flooded communities have complained of having had inadequate support during their crises.

Lismore resident Harley Nelson told Xinhua that the “little country town” was a “low-income area, people don’t have the money or ability to move far away”.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was “incredibly sorry” for the handling of the disaster.

“I don’t want anyone in our state to ever feel that they are isolated and abandoned,” Perrottet said. “And it’s very clear to me, over the course of this period, that’s how many people felt.”

Meanwhile, Weatherzone meteorologist Tom Hough said the east coast could expect the torrential conditions to continue throughout Tuesday before the massive and intense low-pressure system over the region began to ease on Wednesday.

The forecast for the 24 hours up to Wednesday midnight, is for downpours of more than 100mm to hammer the NSW south coast, while other areas can expect between 25mm to 50mm.

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