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The city’s south-west is now bearing the brunt of the flood emergency, with surging waters threatening homes in Liverpool and Milperra.
More than 100mm of rain has fallen in many places along the NSW coast in the last 24 hours, with 35,000 people so far forced to flee their homes.
Army takes to Sydney streets to help in flood crisis
SES Assistant Commissioner Sean Kearns said the ongoing rain, which is forecast to ease over the course of the day, remained a source of worry.
“Our biggest concern today is ongoing riverine flooding along the Hawkesbury, Nepean and the Georges rivers, with our focus areas being McGraths Hill, Pitt Town, Woronora, Liverpool and Milperra,” he told 9News.
That’s on top of dozens of evacuation orders already in place, particularly across western Sydney.
“We have seen some of these impacted communities being hit by floods for a third and fourth time in 18 months, which is extremely distressing to the residents of these communities,” federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said, in a statement released through the State Emergency Service shortly before 11pm on Monday.
“The Australian and New South Wales governments have worked very cooperatively through this latest flood emergency, to ensure defence and other resources were deployed early and fast.
“Similarly, we’re now working hard together to make sure that impacted communities get the financial and other assistance they need as soon as possible.”
The Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements support is available in the local government areas of Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Camden, Canterbury Bankstown, Campbelltown, Central Coast, Cessnock, Fairfield, Georges River, Hawkesbury, Hornsby, Kiama, Lithgow, Liverpool, Northern Beaches, Penrith, Shellharbour, Shoalhaven, Sutherland, The Hills, Wingecarribee, Wollondilly and Wollongong.
More than 30,000 people were on flood alert across the state with more than 70 evacuation orders issued by Monday afternoon.
Authorities continue to warn of the dangers, urging people in affected areas not to travel unless strictly necessary.
A family of five, including a pregnant mother, was rescued from a car in floodwaters in Hurstville just before 5.30pm.
Firefighters said they waded out to the car and fitted flood jackets to the family, before carrying the children, all aged under six, in their arms and guiding the parents through the water to relatives waiting nearby.
New South Wales Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke, said significant recovery support would be needed.
“Today’s announcement will ensure immediate assistance is available to impacted communities, including assistance for people who have lost or had damage to their homes,” She said, in the SES media release.
“While we are still very much in the emergency response phase of this developing weather event, as waters recede we will work with communities to assess longer term recovery needs and ensure appropriate long-term support is provided.”
The funding may include help for people with damaged homes and belongings, support for councils to clean up and fix interest rates, freight subsidies for primary producers and concessional-rate loans.
The State Emergency Service has responded to hundreds of calls for assistance and seven evacuation centres have been set up.
Darkest Forest, Lucas Heights, Horsley Park and Fairfield City all had well over 100 millimetres of rain in the 12 hours to 9pm on Monday and other parts of the state have seen rainfall levels not seen in three decades.
But there was some good news, with forecasters expecting a trough over the central coast to move northward overnight.
Although rainfall rates have generally eased, localised heavy rainfall which may lead to flash remains possible overnight into Tuesday over Sydney Metropolitan, and parts of Hunter (including Central Coast) districts,” the bureau said, in a severe weather warning issued about 10.45pm on Monday.
“Isolated three-hourly rainfall totals between 40 to 60 mm are possible.
“Rainfall over the southern parts of Sydney Metropolitan will continue to ease as showers and rain areas contract northward to the Hunter district.
Damaging winds gusting up to 100km/h were also expected to ease into Tuesday.
“The damaging winds may lead to debris on roads and provide the risk for trees toppling in softer and very saturated soils,” the bureau said.
“Rainfall will further contribute to flooding already being experienced, and maintains (sic) the potential for landslides.”