SYDNEY: Emergency teams in AustraliaNew South Wales’ most populous state was evacuating residents, livestock and sandbag towns on Saturday ahead of an expected peak in floodwaters, with a river expected to reach a 70-year flood stage.
Eastern Australia is in the throes of the fourth major flood crisis this year due to a multi-year La Nina weather event, usually associated with increased rainfall. The floods left thousands homeless and damaged agricultural industries.
Authorities have announced at least A$2 billion ($1.3 billion) in disaster relief to help thousands of residents repair their homes and, in some cases, move out of flood-prone areas.
In the state of New South Wales (NSW), there were 103 flood warnings on Saturday.
In Forbesa rural town in the state’s wheat belt about a five-hour drive from Sydney, some businesses have already been overwhelmed by the rise of the Lachlan River, which is expected to crest a 70-year high of 10.8 meters ( 32 feet) Saturday.
On Friday, rescuers used high-clearance vehicles to access a pregnant woman whose waters broke and needed urgent medical attention, the NSW State Emergency Service (SES) said in a statement.
“We’ve had a few flood rescues…right now I’m at a property east of Forbes helping move horses. .
“It’s been non-stop all day.”
Along the Murrumbidgee River near the town of Wagga Wagga, flooding peaked on Friday at the highest level since 2010.
NSW Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cook warned that while the wet weather had eased, towns downstream from swollen rivers were now at risk of flooding.
“As we experience a climate reprieve, the risk has not diminished from the amount of water that is in our river systems, flowing through our communities and impacting the daily lives of communities across New -South Wales,” said cooking at a press conference.
The southern state of Victoria was also bracing for floodwaters from the River Murray to reach Swan Hill in the northwest of the state in the coming days.
Australia’s four eastern states, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, have been hit by flooding this year.

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