Flood-ravaged eastern Australia braces for wilder weather
Australian towns devastated by deadly flooding over the past week braced for more intense weather on Sunday, with expected downpours halting recovery and cleanup efforts by volunteers.
The National Weather Office has warned of severe thunderstorms and major flooding in the state of Queensland, where 11 people died in flooding last week.
Flash floods are predicted for the major city of Brisbane, home to 2.6 million people.
Heavy rain, large hailstones and devastating winds were also expected to hit further south in the state of New South Wales, including the town of Lismore, which last week saw record flooding and rescue efforts spectacular to save residents stranded on their roofs.
The death toll from the floods in New South Wales rises to five, after the body of a man was found on Saturday.
Some residents of flood-affected areas have taken to social media to express their frustration at what they see as a lack of police, defense personnel and emergency services on the ground to help with the recovery effort.
In Lismore, Tom Wolff, who runs a local charity, said he spent Saturday collecting donations of insulin, which were then delivered by private helicopter to residents with diabetes in the nearby town of Woodburn.
Defense Minister Peter Dutton on Sunday defended his department’s work in the aftermath of the record flooding, saying he was “absolutely satisfied with the defense response”.
“We came in force and we are going to increase the numbers considerably,” he said, promising that there would be 5,000 troops on the ground in the coming days.
Scientists say climate change is making floods, bushfires, cyclones and droughts in Australia more frequent and intense.
Rooftop rescue in Australia as tens of thousands evacuated from floods
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