The Australian government has declared a national emergency in the wake of the devastating floods on the east coast.

This means that those affected in the flood areas can be helped more quickly and with less bureaucracy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the measure on Wednesday during a visit to the northern New South Wales town of Lismore, where the destruction is particularly widespread.

He also promised additional financial aid for the flooded regions and families that were particularly affected.

Floods of this magnitude occur at most once in 500 years, Morrison stressed to journalists.

"There hasn't been a flood event like this in this part of Australia in living memory, and that's a profound statement." Urgent measures must be taken to better prevent floods in the region.

Above all, people need “hope for the future”.

Since late February, a slow-moving low-pressure system has caused historic flooding in the states of Queensland and New South Wales.

The metropolis of Sydney, where it rained almost continuously for two and a half weeks, is also affected.

Meteorologists spoke of the wettest start of the year in Australia's largest city since weather records began in 1858. Because of the rising river levels, the authorities issued evacuation orders and warnings for about a dozen suburbs on Tuesday.

Around 60,000 people were affected.

As a result of the flooding, the otherwise shimmering blue water in the world-famous Sydney Harbor was also brown.

According to the region's environment ministry, the sea off many of the city's beaches "from Palm Beach down to Cronulla" is polluted and full of flotsam.

Many places have therefore advised against swimming in the ocean.

Australia is particularly hard hit by climate change.

From August 2019 to March 2020, catastrophic bushfires had devastated millions of hectares of land.

And just a few weeks ago, Western Australia was still sweating under a relentless heat dome.

Values ​​of more than 50 degrees were recorded in some cases.