At least 10 people have died and thousands more have been told to evacuate their homes as parts of Australia’s southeast coast suffer the worst flooding seen in almost a decade.
The flooding has claimed the lives of several people, with many residents forced to spend hours trapped on their roofs in recent days due to the flooding in eastern Australia.
Parts of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, remained underwater on Monday, while the body of a woman in her 80s was found in her home in Lismore, New South Wales on Tuesday.
There are fears that people who climbed onto their roof spaces through ceiling manholes could become trapped by rising waters.
A police rescue officer saved an elderly woman from such a space that was almost filled with water, Lismore State Emergency Commander Steve Patterson said.
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“He dived in through a window, noticed the manhole cover was open, when he checked, found a 93-year-old lady with about 20 centimetres (8 inches) left of space before the water hit the top,” Mr Patterson said.
Almost 50 people were rescued from a bridge in Woodburn on Tuesday night, which had become submerged in water.
Worst disaster in the region in years
Floodwater is moving south into New South Wales from Queensland in the worst disaster in the region since 2011.
Dominic Perrottet, New South Wales’s Premier, said there had been 1,000 rescues in his state by Tuesday and more than 6,000 calls for authorities to help.
He said 40,000 people have been ordered to evacuate and 300,000 others had been placed under evacuation orders.
So far 10 deaths have been reported, with nine in Queensland.
The clean up operation is underway in Brisbane, but more storms are forecast for later this week.
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Thousands of homes were hit with floodwater on Sunday and the national weather agency confirmed the six-day total rainfall for Brisbane was 792.9mm (31.2 inches).
The previous record, set in 1974, was 655.8mm (25.8 inches) of rain in Brisbane.