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Evacuation Orders Remain as Floods Menace Eastern Australia 


A view shows a flooded street following heavy rains in the town of Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia, March 30, 2022 in this still image taken from a video. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation/Handout via Reuters)

Thousands of people remain under evacuation orders Thursday as major flooding again hits parts of eastern Australia. For some communities, it is the second time in a month they have been inundated. At least two people have died and a third is missing.

Intense and heavy rainfall Tuesday and Wednesday have brought the threat of flooding to parts of New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state.

The main street in Byron Bay, a popular seaside town 750 kilometers north of Sydney, was underwater for the first time in decades.

Some areas have seen 430 millimeters of rain. Up to 30,000 residents have been ordered to leave their homes and many are without power.

Emergency services have received hundreds of calls for help and 19 people have been rescued from floodwaters.

Near the city of Lismore, 700 kilometers north of Sydney, the search continues for a nurse who has been missing for two days. It is thought she was trapped in her car by rising floodwaters.

Lismore was inundated by the worst floods on record earlier this month.

Janelle Saffin, a lawmaker in the New South Wales parliament, says local people have had enough.

“That is very much the local reaction — oh, my goodness, no, no, no. In town, the CBD [central business district], a lot of it is cleaned up but not all of it. There is that feeling of what now? Some of us have dried our houses, knocked the walls out, done a range of things and now they are inundated again,” she said.

The low-pressure system that left entire towns flooded has moved offshore, but the entire New South Wales coast has been warned Thursday to expect high waves, powerful winds and coastal erosion.

Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, has had its wettest March on record, according to the weather bureau. 537 millimeters of rain has been recorded.

Summer in eastern Australia was dominated by the La Nina weather system that typically brings wetter conditions to eastern Australia. It is a naturally occurring pattern.

However, experts believe the wet conditions are also related to climate change.

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