Thousands of Australians were asked to evacuate their homes in Sydney on Sunday as rain lashed the country’s largest city and flooded its suburbs.
Roads were closed across the city and authorities confirmed 18 evacuation orders had been issued for western Sydney, which was hit by heavy flooding in March.
“This is a life-threatening emergency,” New South Wales Emergency Services Minister Stephanie Cook told reporters.
Australia is experiencing some of the worst impacts of climate change; Droughts, deadly wildfires, Great Barrier Reef bleaching and floods have increased in frequency and intensity as global weather patterns change.
With more turbulent weather expected in the coming days, Cook described flooding as “rapidly developing” and warned citizens to “be prepared to evacuate their homes at short notice”.
The Warragma Dam in Sydney overflowed early on Sunday morning, much earlier than predicted.
In Camden, a south-western Sydney suburb of more than 100,000 people, shops and a gas station were flooded.
Cook asked parents living 500km up Australia’s east coast, north and south of Sydney, to cancel school holiday travel plans due to the weather.
Emergency services carried out 29 flood rescue operations and received more than 1,400 calls in the past 24 hours, the minister said.
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