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As heavy rain continues to batter the east coast, 18,000 Australians have been evacuated from flooding across New South Wales. Days of downpours have caused rivers and dams to overflow around Sydney, the state capital and in south-east Queensland.

Calling it a “one-in-a-50-year event”, the heavy rain might continue all week. Officials have urged the public to exercise caution. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has offered funds for those forced to flee. “It is another testing time for our country,” said the PM to Sydney radio station 2GB on Monday.

There has been widespread damage in the affected areas, which are home to about a third of Australia’s 25 million people. Forcing 15,000 evacuations on the state’s Mid-North Coast and a further 3,000 in Sydney, officials say that the flooding has caused havoc across NSW.

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