Status: 03/03/2022 08:53 am
The east coast of Australia is experiencing the worst flooding ever. Tens of thousands of people have already been forced to flee their homes, and evacuations are underway in the larger Sydney area.
Water, water everywhere. For a week it was pouring out clouds of gray like buckets, a huge lake landscape across the country. Where there were roads people go by boat; Only the roofs of the houses come out of the brown water – families sit on some of them and wave eagerly at the helicopters. Whole wooden houses float in the raging rivers.
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“I have lived here for 30 years, but I have never seen anything like it,” said a woman at a Brisbane shelter. The east coast of Australia is experiencing the worst flooding since a storm with heavy rainfall.
Tens of thousands of people had to flee their homes – now flooding threatens Sydney: overflowing reservoirs threaten to break dams near Australia’s largest city. So many western suburbs are about to be evicted, affecting millions of people.
At least 13 deaths
“Everyone is worried here, no one knows what’s going to happen next and where it will end,” said firefighter David Ellis. The floods, which cover an area of more than 800 km, have so far claimed 13 lives.
The rising speed of the water surprised many. “We saw people staying on the roofs for hours,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Barrott described his record. “We saw people who could not escape from the bridges. Above all, we saw the unity of the people who support each other in their need. That is the spirit of our country.”
Nonetheless, Charlene York, head of emergency services, prefers to avoid pictures of people on the roofs. Frustrated people did not go to safety on time and then had to be rescued at great expense by helicopter or boat. That’s why she appeals to the five million people living in Sydney: “If you knock on your door and tell them to run away, run away!”
On the edge of the dark water that was once the city of Lismore, a young woman standing soaking wet cries. “I’m here waiting for my parents and my siblings and my dogs,” she cried. Their parents’ house is flooded to the roof and they have lost everything – like many families in the flood.
A street in Windsor, a Sydney suburb, was flooded
Image: Image Alliance / dpa / AP
Climate change increases flood risk
After many years of devastating bush and wildfires related to severe drought and climate, Eastern Australia is currently experiencing exceptionally humid summers due to the La Nina weather event. Climate change increases the risk of flooding because the warmer climate absorbs more water and increases the intensity of rainfall. Like any other country, Australia is suffering from the effects of climate change – yet the government is sticking to coal production.
For a long time, Australia was also considered the so-called climate denier in the world. However, due to the extreme weather, awareness is changing and calls for a reconsideration of energy policy are getting louder.
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