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‘Wall of water’: Worst floods in seven decades hit southeastern Australia

Authorities in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) have found the body of a woman who was missing in the flood-hit area of Eugowra, a town in the Central West region of NSW.

Dianne Smith, 60, was missing since the area was hit by the worst flood in the state’s history on Monday, Sky News reported on Wednesday, adding that another old man aged 85 is still missing.

Some areas of the NSW are facing the worst and highest flood levels in more than 70 years.

“You must evacuate now because dangerous floodwaters are continuing to rise,” the State Emergency Service warned people in a statement published on its website.

‘Wall of water’

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 kilometres (220 miles) 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.”

Meanwhile, the Australia Bureau of Meteorology also warned that the Lachlan River at Forbes Iron Bridge may reach around 10.80 meters (36 feet) on Thursday morning, with major flooding similar to the June 1952 flood level.

READ MORE: Frustration swells in Australia over slow flood relief

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