Sunday, March 4, 2012

Australian Floods Force Thousands To Evacuate | Wagga Wagga

March 5, 2012 - Several days of heavy rain have caused rivers and creeks to spill over their banks in three states in Eastern Australia. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Flash flooding has killed at least two people. More rain is expected later this week. Almost 5,000 people have been forced to flee their homes, reports TV New Zealand, "during the worst flooding in NSW in decades while others have been placed on high alert as water levels continue to rise."
About 70 percent of the State of New South Wales (NSW) is flooded or under threat of flooding, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation today (video, left).

Two of the worst hit cities are Wagga Wagga (map) and Gundagai (map), both in New South Wales.

ABC Melbourne reports that more evacuations "are expected today [March 5] in the Riverina and central west regions of New South Wales, as flood levels continue to rise" and that "in the Riverina, the State Emergency Service (SES) is preparing for possible flooding in the main part of the city of Wagga Wagga.... Wagga Wagga City Council says the levee is designed to 11 metres and a 10.6 metre peak is predicted tomorrow."

Wagga Wagga, Water Water (photo: ABC Australia)
The New Straits Times says authorities are warning people to not drive their cars through floodwaters. NST reports that there were "more than 30 rescues overnight, including that of two adults and three children who had been trapped in a car in Wagga Wagga."

As of this posting, there are two deaths being reported. NST's report (updated at 10:43 am, March 5 local) says that "One man died at Araluen in southern New South Wales at the weekend after  being washed downstream as he attempted to drive through floodwaters. His two  companions were rescued, one reportedly clinging to a tree. The toll rose Monday after a man died when his car was swept off a road in  heavy flooding in the southeast Queensland town of Glenwood, near Gympie."

The New South Wales State Emergency Service (SES) advises people to call 132 500 for emergency help in floods and storms. Check the SES website for updates and warnings.
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