Australia's New South Wales mops up after floods hit rural heartland

SYDNEY (XINHUA) – The after-effects of intense rainfall are lingering throughout the central west of Australia’s New South Wales where flooding of one of the state’s largest rivers has caused widespread crop damage.

New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet flew to the rural community of Forbes on Thursday (Nov 18) to assess flood damage and praised the efforts of about 300 State Emergency Service volunteer workers.

“That is the spirit that gets our state through these difficult times,” Mr Perrottet said.

The town sits beside the Lachlan River which earlier this week had been predicted to rise as high as 10.65m.

The expected disaster led the emergency service to issue an evacuation order to about 1,800 residents in low-lying parts of Forbes, while volunteer crews spent days sandbagging properties to protect them from the torrent.

The floodwaters did not reach the anticipated levels but they nevertheless have caused havoc for the region’s farmers.

Speaking to the Guardian Australia website, Forbes Shire Mayor Phyllis Miller said the impact on farmers had been horrendous and she expected the cost would amount to “millions and millions of dollars” as crops were washed away, or left to wither or turn mouldy at a time when farmers were expecting bumper harvests.

Meanwhile, the emergency service has said they will now focus their attention on communities downstream from Forbes.

Forbes residents have also been warned of the likelihood of thunderstorms over the weekend which could see river levels rise once again.

“We’re not out of the woods yet because the forecast is for a lot of storm events right throughout the rest of spring and into early summer,” Ms Miller said.

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