Heavy flooding swamps eastern Australia

Thousands of homes affected in New South Wales following days of rain.

    The towns of Taree and Kempsey are some of the most affected areas [AFP]

    Parts of eastern Australia have been declared natural disaster areas following days of extreme weather which swamped the mid-north coast.

    Days of heavy rain caused flooding in the state of New South Wales, forcing 2,000 people to leave their homes, with as many as 10,000 having been cut off by the flood waters.

    The towns of Taree and Kempsey are some of the most affected areas.

    Farm houses and farm lands there were surrounded by floodwaters and livestock has become isolated.

    Authorities said they were waiting for the water to recede so they could assess the extent of the damage caused by the deluge, local media reported.

    Australia's State Emergency Service (SES) officials said they had received many calls for assistance.

    "We've had more than 1,400 requests for assistance and that equates to probably 4,000 phone calls," David Rae, the SES spokesman, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

    'Sea of water'

    Heavy rain has now eased along the coast and the Bureau of Meteorology cancelled a severe weather warning early on Thursday.

    Michael Gallacher, the emergency services minister for New South Wales, had declared some northern parts of the state disaster areas on Wednesday.

    Greg Gill of New South Wales emergency services described flooded areas as "just a sea of water".

    Many roads were impassable, and swollen rivers were still rising.

    Police reported one death, a driver killed when a tree fell and struck his car on Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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