(Londonderry) Thousands of Australians affected by the floods that struck the country’s east coast began large-scale clean-ups on Thursday as the waters receded, revealing the scale of the damage.
The torrential rains that rained for a week in New South Wales, the most populous state in the region, killed two people.
Towns were flooded, crops were destroyed, and many homes were severely damaged.
On Thursday, David Williams returned to his home in Londonderry, northwestern Sydney, where he had seen nothing but “the terrible damage” of the floods.
“It hurts the heart,” he said, while congratulating himself on “being able to save a lot of things.”
Williams told AFP that he has begun the “long process” that awaits him to erase the stigma caused by these devastating floods.
He threw more than eight trailers of valuables and turned into a pile of rubbish lying on the side of the road.
And her neighbors, an elderly couple, were less fortunate. In their home, the muddy water, carrying a whole pile of debris, rose to waist height.
They lost everything. They had nothing left. They have some memories, and that’s it. ”
In parts of Sydney’s northern coast, hundreds of soldiers and volunteer firefighters took part in the operations, trying to clear mud from traffic lanes and clear debris with chainsaws.
Ben Shepherd, the inspector at the Rural Fire Service, told AFP that his teams were working to allow “to return to normal as soon as possible,” but that “it could take weeks – even months – in some areas.”
The farmers also provided assistance, without hesitating to travel hundreds of kilometers by truck to provide hay for those who “lost everything”.
In the vast area inundated by floods, many residents remain isolated, and it is estimated that around 20,000 people are still unable to return to their homes.
“We believe most of the rivers have reached their peak,” said New South Wales Prime Minister Gladys Prejiklian, but called on residents to be vigilant.
“In some areas that have not seen such a quantity of rain for half a century or even a century, the water levels will continue to rise,” she said.
Since the floods, which began last weekend, have received more than 12,000 calls for help and relief for more than 1,000 people.
Floods have reached parts of remote areas. On Thursday, TV showed the town of Morey, a town that was divided in two by a river that flooded it.
The sun is expected to continue to shine over the flooded areas next week.
Near Sydney, along the swollen Hawkesbury River, aid workers were busy delivering food and necessities to areas that remained isolated.
Bianca Tollhurst, a resident of Richmond, in the countryside, managed to save her horses and livestock when the waves flooded her ranch, but she was “exhausted” by the enormity of the task. “Waiting.
“As long as the waters do not recede, we do not know what to do and where to start,” the resident told AFP.
Thousands of homes and businesses have suffered extensive damage and insurance companies have already received 22,000 claims.
In some areas of the coast, a meter of water decreased in a week, equivalent to two-thirds of the normal annual rainfall.
Scientists have warned that Australia is expected to be particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events due to climate change.