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Thousands of Australians are returning to ‘uninhabitable’ homes as flooding recedes

People watch as properties and roads are flooded in Windsor, northwest of Sydney
People watch as residential properties and streets face flooding in Windsor, northwest of Sydney, Australia, March 9, 2022. AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi via REUTERS

March 10, 2022

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Thousands of Australians returned to their homes on Thursday after torrential rains eased and flood waters receded, as authorities stepped up clean-up efforts and unveiled new support packages for residents who had lost their homes.

Relentless rains since late last month have ruptured riverbanks in south-east Australia, flooding homes, farms and bridges and cutting off entire cities. Twenty-one people have been killed so far.

“We know it’s been a devastating time up here that has probably weathered the initial shock to many people and the trauma it brought,” said New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet, from the worst-hit area of ​​the Northern Rivers.

“Many people are now returning to their homes in very difficult conditions, many not habitable,” Perrottet said as he unveiled an A$551 million ($403 million) relief package for flood-affected residents that will last up to 16 weeks offers rental support.

More than 1,200 people remained in emergency shelters in the Northern Rivers region while around 3,000 homes were deemed uninhabitable, authorities said.

Rescue teams, including Defense Forces personnel, took advantage of the eased conditions to clear debris and deliver essential supplies, but anger swelled among many residents as they were without access to electricity and the internet for several days.

Amid criticism of slow relief, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is lagging behind in polls in an election year, on Wednesday declared the floods a national emergency and designated disaster areas in flood-hit cities.

A Climate Council of Australia report released on Thursday described the recent floods as one of the most extreme disasters in Australian history and said the devastation was “far-reaching”. Total damage was estimated at A$1.77 billion (US$1.30 billion), the Insurance Council of Australia said.

Meanwhile, skies cleared in Sydney after nearly two weeks, but severe flooding continued in the city’s western suburbs of North Richmond and Windsor as water continued to flow from overloaded dams and rivers. Flooding could continue at current levels for the next 24 hours, emergency services said.

($1 = 1.3669 Australian Dollars)

(Reporting by Renju Jose; Editing by Michael Perry)

https://www.oann.com/thousands-of-australians-return-to-uninhabitable-homes-as-floods-recede/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=thousands-of-australians-return-to-uninhabitable-homes-as-floods-recede Thousands of Australians are returning to ‘uninhabitable’ homes as flooding recedes

Bobby Allyn

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