NEWS

Thousands Still Trapped By Northern NSW Floods

Some communities have been cut off for days.

20/03/2017 7:22 AM AEDT | Updated 20/03/2017 9:51 AM AEDT
Oliver Lawrence (Oli_Photoplay) / Instagram
Impassable: Waterfalls flood the roads at Dorrigo National Park on Saturday.

Thousands of people remain cut off due to floodwaters in northern NSW, while the rainy weather looks set to continue for another week.

Heavy rain has flooded several rivers and cut off more than 2,000 people.

As of Monday morning, 11 flood warnings remain in place, including two moderate warnings for the Macintyre River and the Orara River at Glenreagh.

Approximately 1,500 people in small communities in north-east NSW are completely cut off due to flooding, while a further 2,700 people in and around the coastal town of Iluka are being periodically isolated with the changing tides.

"Some of these communities have been cut off for a couple of days," a spokesperson for NSW SES told the Huffington Post Australia.

"The SES can resupply those communities if they run out. Most of those people are quite well prepared and resilient."

A further 2,700 people in and around the coastal town of Iluka are being periodically secluded with the changing tides.

However, in other areas flood waters are easing, opening up road access to more than 1,000 residents in small NSW communities previously isolated by floodwaters.

The rain looks set to continue throughout the week, thanks to a low pressure system moving in from South Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology has issued severe thunderstorm warnings for the Central West Slopes and Plains and Upper Western regions -- including the already flood-affected regions of Nyngan, Brewarrina and Weilmoringle.

The State Emergency Service is urging residents not to attempt to drive or swim through floodwaters, even if the rain has stopped.

As of 8.30am Monday, the SES had received 3,322 calls for assistance and conducted 85 rescues -- 90 percent of which were people in vehicles who had become trapped after driving through floodwaters.

"The temptation for people when the rain has stopped is that they will think its OK to drive through floodwaters," an SES spokeswoman said.

"People don't know if the roads are still even there. The vehicles are so well sealed now that they will float. Even in a 4WD, it doesn't take that much water for a car to float. If the road is gone, the car can tip over on its side.

"If that situation isn't scary enough, if the police see them, they will get fined and the insurance companies won't pay out on people who have driven over flooded roads either."

Two campers also had to be rescued at Bonshaw near the Queensland border after their camping ground was cut off and another man had to be airlifted by the Westpac Life Saver helicopter after he became trapped by rising flood waters at Upper Rolands Plains.

Parents are also being urged to keep their children away from floodwaters and storm water drains in affected areas.

An 11-year-old boy died last Thursday after being sucked into a stormwater drain while playing in a park in Unanderra.

"[Floodwaters] are also filled with sewerage, chemicals, snakes and spiders and they're just terribly dangerous places for people to be and of course storm water drains are particularly dangerous," the NSW SES spokeswoman said.

Visit the Bureau of Meteorology and State Emergency Services websites for the latest warnings and updates on the flooding.

Got a little wet... #spontaneouswaterfalls #Dorrigo #Bellingen #floods #waterfalls

A post shared by Oliver Lawrance (@oli_photoplay) on


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