Following heavy torrential rain across eastern Australia at the end of last month, massive floods have forced over 40,000 to evacuate their homes. Some areas have received over 40 inches of rain in one week, hundreds of homes have been submerged and even the arid central section of the country is experiencing rushing waterfalls. Tourists have flocked to Uluru to see these uncommon waterfalls cascading down reddish-orange rocks.
“What we still have to be aware of is the fact that thousands and thousands of people are still on evacuation warnings, that the rivers will continue to swell, that catchments will continue to experience flows of water not seen in 50 years and in some places 100 years,” reported Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of New South Wales. The waterfalls are an amazing sight, but much the floods have reaped much darker consequences.
Two men trapped in cars have become the first victims of the record floods. A car trapped in flood water northwest of Sydney was recovered with a body inside, believed to be that of a 25-year-old Pakistani national, Ayaz Younus. Younus was studying software engineering and had two elder brothers and one younger sister. Another body was retrieved from upturned pickup north of Gold Coast in Queensland. It has been identified as the body of 38-year-old David Hornman, who had earlier been reported missing by his family.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed his condolences to the deceased men and reflected on Australia’s recent struggles. “We have seen so much over the course of the past year and more as this country has battled so many things — floods, fires, viruses, drought and now these floods again,” he told Parliament.
Emergency services have made hundreds of rescues, and Cabinet Minister Peter Dutton explained plans for 700 defense personnel to be deployed as the floods recede to help people return to their homes.