Officials said 102 evacuations orders have been issued for parts of New South Wales. Photo courtesy of NSE SES Parramatta Unit/Facebook
July 5 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of people in Sydney and the surrounding area are being told told leave their homes due to mass flooding, which Australia has declared a national disaster.
Dom Perrottet, the premier of New South Wales, told reporters in a Tuesday press conference that 102 evacuation orders were in place, including 22 that were announced overnight, affecting some 50,000 people in the state.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said since July 1, parts of the state have received almost 27.5 inches of rain with expectations that it to continue as the storm works its way north over the eastern coast. The bureau has issued a severe weather warning for the mid-north coast until Wednesday, stating up to 3.5 inches could fall in six-hour periods. It also lashing the coast with winds at about 60 mph.
"This event is far from over. Please don't be complacent," Perrottet said
Canberra has declared the floods a natural disaster, making available resources to those in need.
On returning from a trip to Europe, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters Tuesday that he has been briefed on the situation and said "it is clear that the crisis is not over yet."
"The people on the east coast are doing it really tough at the moment," he said. "The catchments are full. That means that even when the rain starts to ease, the danger will not ease for some period of days as floodwaters continue to rise."
Nine evacuation centers have been opened, eight which are in the Sydney area with Albanese stating 242 people have registered at them.
Some 250 soldiers have also been made available for relief efforts, including 100 already on the ground, he said, adding that planning is currently underway for clean-up efforts.
Officials said some 20,000 homes are without power and 1,000 were without communications.
"This is the fourth flooding event we have seen in some of these areas ... in the last 18 months," the prime minister said. "My heart goes out to people who have suffered again and against and again and again."
The flooding has forced numerous roads to close, affecting transportation. A landslide near Blackheath West of Sydney took out a second of train tracks, which could take weeks to repair, Transport for New South Wales said.