Rescue operations continued on Tuesday, March 8, on the east coast of Australia hit, for a week, by major floods which have already caused the death of 20 people.

Authorities have announced the discovery of the bodies of a woman and a man in Sydney, where further heavy rainfall and sudden flooding are expected.

They would be the two people wanted since their car was found in the middle of floodwaters, according to the police.

Some 60,000 residents of Australia's biggest city have been told to evacuate their homes, ahead of sudden flooding in many parts of the city, according to emergency services.

The torrential rains that battered Sydney submerged bridges, flooded homes, swept away cars and the roof of a supermarket collapsed.

The Manly dam in the north of the city began to overflow on Tuesday and 2,000 residents were told to evacuate.

In the suburb of Georges Hall, located on the edge of a river, vehicles were half submerged and the police had to rescue people trapped in their cars by the sudden rise in water.

Rescue services are under strain as torrential rains and severe storms continue to sweep across the state of New South Wales for the second week in a row.

The Australian Meteorological Agency has called for vigilance for the next 48 hours which promise to be "difficult".

Closed roads, damaged infrastructure and power cuts  

Flood alerts have been issued along all of the state's 2,000 kilometers of coastline.

These floods are the "aquatic equivalent of the unprecedented wildfires" that ravaged Australia in 2019 and 2020 for months, Phil Campbell, spokesman for the relief services, told AFP.

The severe weather, which began last week, caused property and wildlife damage similar to those fires, he added.

"They have the same consequences for the population: closed roads, damaged infrastructure and power cuts," he said.

In the past 24 hours, help has been called to help around 100 people and that number is expected to rise as the storm rolls through Sydney on Tuesday.

In northern New South Wales, flooding has destroyed homes, swept away cars and forced hundreds of residents to their roofs.

The long and difficult cleaning operations have begun.

Mullumbimby, a city located south of Brisbane, has been cut off from the rest of the world for several days, without telephones, without Internet and without outside help, explained to AFP a resident, Casey Whelan.

"A lot of people on my street cannot be compensated by insurance (...) they will have no way to rebuild," he lamented.

Australia has been hit hard in recent years by climate change: droughts, deadly bushfires and floods are becoming more frequent and intense.

With AFP

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