Recent flooding across the globe is forcing millions of people to struggle for survival. Severe storms have targeted island regions such as the coasts of Australia and large parts of Hawai’i, including the popular beach regions of O’ahu island.
The eastern state of New South Wales in Australia remains the worst affected territory on the continental island. During a relentless week-long downpour in March, emergency helicopters and boats attempted to rescue stranded residents according to Aljazeera. Authorities in eastern Australia issued flood warnings and evacuation orders throughout the month of March while the heavy rains continued to devastate the region with nearly 40 inches of rain in a week in some areas.
Most notably, the capital city of New South Wales faced severe challenges amidst the flooding. Thousands of people were evacuated from Sydney as the flooding swept into its western suburbs. Relentless rain triggered flooding the likes of which the city had not experienced
in 60 years. Rivers and dams struggled to contain the flood waters throughout the month, as New South Wales emergency services released a statement saying, “Flooding is likely to be higher than any floods since Nov 1961” according to Aljazeera.
Further to the north in New South Wales, flood waters have severely affected the land. State Premier Gladys Berejiklian stated that the region was experiencing a “one-in-100-year event” during the heavy rains and floods, according to Aljazeera. In the town of Windsor, located northwest of Sydney, Aljazeera reporters found that flood waters have overwhelmed the town’s main bridge and several large buildings.
More than 40,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes as the flood waters become more erratic and more dangerous. Despite the catastrophic flood levels, few casualties have been reported as of Apr. 5, according to NPR.
Meanwhile, further north in the Pacific, Hawai’i declared a state of emergency after severe flooding damaged homes and raised concerns over a possible dam failure. Gov. David Ige signed a proclamation in early March to release state funds to help people impacted by the extreme weather event. Ige’s proclamation covers all of the state’s counties, along with the city and county of Honolulu, according to NPR.
Over half a dozen homes were severely damaged or destroyed by flood waters on the island of Maui. Due to the heavy flooding, two bridges in Wong’s Village, O’ahu collapsed as a cement truck drove across, according to KGMB (CNN). The mayor of Maui pointed out that homes and bridges have been damaged in the ongoing flood emergency.
“This has been unprecedented flooding, and we will be making damage assessments,” Mayor Victorino said in a written statement, according to CNN. Victorino added that residents have told him it was the worst flooding they had seen in over two decades.
With tens of thousands of people displaced by the recent flooding around the globe due to torrential rain, efforts to mitigate damages and prevent weather catastrophes have taken an important role in the international arena. Concerns of climate change continue to drive efforts to prevent severe weather events and assist those affected by these disasters.
Sources: Aljazeera, NPR, CNN.