‘Wall of water’ sweep away houses, cars

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Entire buildings have been ripped from their foundations after flash floods swamped a small Australian town, with disaster management officials on Wednesday describing the deluge as a destructive “wall of water.”

The town of Eugowra — about 350 kilometers west of Sydney — was inundated on Monday but it has been impossible to assess the extent of damage under the mud-brown waters.

Australia’s east coast has been repeatedly swept by heavy rainfall in the past two years, driven by back-to-back La Nina cycles.

New South Wales State Emergency Service spokesperson Steve Hall said a dire picture was emerging as response teams returned to the town of some 800 people.

“Everything they hold dear has been swept away in a wall of water,” he said.

“All their possessions are covered in water and mud, they’ve got to come back and start all over, working through all the processes of grief, and loss and anger.”

Stranded residents huddled on roofs as floodwaters peaked on Monday evening, before they were winched to safety by rescue helicopters.

Local Member of Parliament Andrew Gee said Eugowra was “strewn” with cars swept up in the floods and that some buildings had been “picked up from their foundations and washed down streets.”

“The residents talk about a tsunami coming at them,” he told ABC, the country’s national broadcaster.

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