Evacuations ordered in Sydney amid ‘one-in-100-year floods’

Victims of 2011 Brisbane flood to receive $440m settlement

Thousands of victims of the 2011 floods are set to receive compensation in a $440 million settlement.More than 6500 victims of the Brisbane and Ipswich floods will benefit from the settlement, which was reached with the state government and water supplier SunWater over the negligent operation of the Wivenhoe and Somerset dams.

Floods across Queensland and NSW resulted in the deaths of 35 people and affected more than 200,000 others. The settlement covers 50 per cent of the liability for the damage suffered by flood victims.

Maurice Blackburn principal lawyer Rebecca Gilsenan said the $440 million settlement came after a long and arduous legal battle for flood victims.

“It has now been 10 years since the Brisbane and Ipswich floods, so this settlement is a very welcome development that we hope will bring some much-needed closure to our clients, who have had to endure significant uncertainty and frustration while the defendants fought this case at every turn,” Ms Gilsenan said.

The action was filed in the NSW Supreme Court in July 2014, and alleged that the dam operators were negligent in failing to use rainfall forecasts in making decisions about operating strategies, and failing to preserve a reasonable amount of the dams’ storage capacity to provide optimum protection of urbanised areas from inundation…

Evacuations ordered in Sydney amid ‘one-in-100-year floods’

People in parts of Sydney’s northwest were ordered to flee their houses in the middle of the night on Sunday, as heavy rains continued to batter Australia’s east coast, triggering floods that caused widespread destruction throughout the region.

A State Emergency Service rescue team uses an inflatable raft to bring a local resident to safety from a flooded home in Sydney as the state of New South Wales experiences widespread flooding and severe weather [Loren Elliott/Reuters]

Authorities issued flooding risk and evacuation warnings in about 12 areas in the state of New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, and warned of a potentially “life-threatening” situation in the region.  Dean Storey, assistant commissioner at NSW’s State Emergency Services, said people living in evacuation zones “must leave immediately”.

“one-in-100-year event”. 

Gladys Berejilkian, Premier of NSW

“This is a very serious situation,” he said. “All communities need to be aware of their risk, and plan and prepare accordingly.”  The orders came as the Warragamba Dam, which provides much of the drinking water for Sydney, spilled over on Saturday afternoon, causing water levels to rise along the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers.

Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of NSW, called the flooding a “one-in-100-year event”.  “While we don’t think things will worsen on the mid-North Coast, definitely conditions will continue,” she told a news conference. Another 4,000 people may be asked to leave their homes in the coming days, she added. The Bureau of Meteorology said 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 200mm (7.9 inches) of rain.

Emergency services said they had received about 600 calls overnight asking for help; more than 60 of those were pleas for rescue from floods. Television and social media footage showed fast-moving water unmooring houses, engulfing roads, knocking down trees and damaging road infrastructure.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison lamented the “absolutely heart-breaking scenes” on Saturday and offered troops to help with the emergency effort.

The extreme weather was affecting Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine delivery to Sydney and throughout the state and disrupting the country’s plans to deliver the first vaccine doses to almost six million people during the next few weeks…

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