Sydney Australia hit by floods as thousands are ordered to evacuate

Many people in parts of Sydney have been ordered to flee their houses in the middle of the night as heavy rains continued to batter Australia’s east coast on Sunday with fast-moving waters causing widespread destruction throughout the region.

Evacuation and flooding risk warnings were in place for about 12 areas in New South Wales (NSW), Australia’s most populous state with 8 million people, with rivers swelling and rain accumulation posing danger.

“It’s not just the rain which is causing the devastation,” Jonathan How, senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology, told the ABC News state broadcaster. “It’s strong winds as well.”

The senior meteorologist added that the heavy downpour is set to continue for the rest of Sunday in Sydney and throughout the state, with some areas expected to get up to 200 millimetres (7.9 inches) of rain.

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Meanwhile, emergency services said they had received about 600 calls overnight asking for help; more than 60 of those were pleas for rescue from floods.

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