Flooding in eastern Australia has led the attorney general to declare 45 communities in the state of New South Wales disaster areas.
The torrential rain has not let up for weeks and four people have died as thousands more have fled their homes. Emergency workers have been battling to rescue the most vulnerable but many people remain stranded.
In Queensland, three motorists died when their cars were swept away by floods. Another driver was killed in New South Wales.
Kangaroos rescued in Australia’s flooded north east
However, there are fears that further flooding may be on its way. Authorities across central Queensland will be closely monitoring river levels this weekend and the State Emergency Service will also be alert to possible flooding in north-east Victoria.
“The conditions are easing right now and over the weekend but the flooding will potentially increase next week,” said an emergency services spokesman for the region.
“We are now monitoring very closely the Macquarie River, the Namoi river and the Murrumbidgee. If their levels rise, there’s a potential to require evacuation.”
The floods are estimated to have cost 500 million Australian dollars in crop losses in New South Wales alone.