Historic Australian floods isolate dozens of towns

NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia (NBC) – Destructive flooding has isolated dozens of towns and resulted in hundreds of rescues in southeastern Australia.

The flooding follows torrential rains in Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales.

Unknown numbers of houses have been submerged and destroyed while several communities lost power. And the record rains are not over yet.

Around 18,000 people had to be evacuated and emergency services feared up to 54,000 people could be displaced.

Rain is forecast to continue until Wednesday.

Officials are calling the flooding 1-in-50-year and 1-in-100-year rain events.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament that 35 communities in northern New South Wales had been isolated and emergency services had conducted more than 700 flood rescues.

Morrison said, “We are grateful at this point that no lives have been lost so far, but weakened foundations for buildings, for roads and trees, they all create risk, as do downed power lines and rising water levels. So we ask all Australians in these affected areas to please use caution.”

A year ago, vast swaths of New South Wales were charred by unprecedented wildfires following years of drought that gripped most of the state.

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