Trapped motorist becomes first fatality in Australia floods

Trapped motorist becomes first fatality in Australia floods”

"What we still have to be aware of is the fact that thousands and thousands of people are still on evacuation warnings, that the rivers will continue to swell, that catchments will continue to experience flows of water not seen in 50 years and in some places 100 years", Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.

The floods claimed its first victim as a man's body was found in a vehicle trapped by floodwaters on Wednesday.

Wild weather systems have drenched the country's east, prompting tens of thousands of evacuations, especially in the hardest hit state of New South Wales (NSW) where dams continue to overflow and rivers bulge.

Resident Angela Stewart was forced to leave her home north of Sydney.

"This is Australia, isn't it?" she said.

The damage is more limited in the flat agricultural plains around Moree, where the drenching is expected to prime farmland ahead of the planting window next month for wheat, the country's most important crop.

More than 40,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as torrential rain sparked unsafe flash floods, and authorities issued new evacuation orders for residents of Sydney's western regions to move to safety.

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Still, there were some signs of relief as rescue teams, including defence force personnel, took advantage of eased conditions in several areas to clear debris and deliver supplies. "But we're fortunate that we're able to save a lot of stuff".

"We believe that most river systems have peaked but complacency is a concern for us", state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

At least 15,000 people were waiting on high alert on Tuesday for potential orders to evacuate.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued flood warnings from the northern border with the state of Queensland "all the way down the east coast to Victoria", adding that there was a "developing flood situation in inland NSW".

"Those returning home quickly got to work to salvage what was left of their possessions", said Christine-Lee Knibbs, a resident of Windsor, 56 kms (34.8 miles) north-west of Sydney. "Start over and try to salvage what we can and what's not is going to go to the tip".

The national insurance council said it was too early to estimate the financial cost of the damage.

"In the past days, great floods have caused serious damage in New South Wales", Francis said in his customary Wednesday remarks to the faithful.

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