Rising floodwaters in Australia cut off thousands

Rising floodwaters in eastern Australia have stranded thousands of residents, a state emergency official said Friday. No deaths or injuries were immediately reported.

Heavy rains have caused several rivers in northeastern New South Wales state to flood their banks, stranding up to 3,000 residents in and around the tourist town of Bellingen, about 350 kilometers (217 miles) north of Sydney, according to Phil Campbell, a spokesman for the New South Wales State Emergency Service.

"The main area of concern in Bellingen, on the Bellinger River," Campbell said. "They are cut off, they are isolated."

In addition to Bellingen's 2,500 residents, around 500 people in the rural Bellinger Valley have also been cut off by the floods. Campbell said he expected those residents to remain isolated over the next two days.

The SES has brought in additional volunteers to help with flood relief, Campbell said, and helicopters were also on standby in case of emergency.

As the Bureau of Meteorology forecast more heavy rain in the area through Friday and Saturday, residents sandbagged riverfront houses and businesses against further flooding, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. Reported, reports the AP.


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