Photo: Aerial view of a flood-hit area in Maitland, norht of Sydney. Floodwaters engulfed homes and farms and swept through areas north of Sydney while disaster workers began a massive clean-up following deadly storms which battered Australia's east coast.(AFP/Anoek De Groot)
June 11, 2007
MAITLAND, Australia (AFP) - Floodwaters engulfed homes and farms and swept through areas north of Sydney on Monday while disaster workers began a massive clean-up following deadly storms which battered Australia's east coast.
New South Wales state premier Morris Iemma said the level of destruction around Maitland, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of Sydney in the Hunter Valley, was heartbreaking.
"It's unbelievable, the amount of water. It's almost as if the entire valley is covered in water," he said after flying over the region.
Prime Minister John Howard said the water, dumped on Sydney and regions to the north during several days of severe storms starting Friday, had rendered the area almost unrecognisable from the air.
"It is a vivid illustration to me, as it has been to other people, just how savage the storms have been," he said.
Violent storms lashed Sydney and Newcastle and the Central Coast to the north over the weekend, cutting power to tens of thousands of homes, disrupting train and ferry services and leaving nine people dead.
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