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Australia: New South Wales evacuates 18,000 people as flood situation worsens

Canberra: Rescuers in the Australian state of New South Wales(NSW) were forced to evacuate more than 18,000 people as the flood situation across the state and the country took a turn for the worst, authorities said here on Monday.

NSW has been devastated by the flooding which has caused havoc across the state, forcing 15,000 evacuations on the state’s Mid-North Coast and a further 3,000 in Sydney, BBC reported.

Swollen rivers have cut off roads and bridges and forced about 150 schools to shutdown on Monday. Livestock could be seen floating through flooded areas and water engulfing rows of houses up to their windows.

The Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, which border Sydney to the north and west on Monday reached levels much higher than those reached during a devastating flood in 1961. Forecasters warned that the Hawkesbury river could rise further up to 13m (42ft) later in the day.

Apart from this the Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main source of water supply, spilled over for the first time in nearly five years and was discharging about 500 gigalitres a day – equivalent to the volume of Sydney Harbour.

On Monday, authorities warned residents in the low-lying areas north and west of Sydney, the NSW Central Coast and the Hawkesbury valley, of the situation getting worse as the weather system moved further inland.

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