17,000 stranded in NSW floods

Last updated 20:06 02/03/2013

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There have been nearly 1000 calls for help and 11 rescues in the past 24 hours as the New South Wales mid-north coast has been hit by heavy rain and flash flooding.

Five adults were evacuated from a house in Kew on Saturday morning by the State Emergency Service after becoming trapped from rising flood waters, SES spokesman Phil Campbell said.

It is a week since the body of 17-year-old Luke O'Neill from Bonny Hills was found in Kew after being sucked down a drainpipe.

An elderly person was rescued on Saturday morning after being cut off by the floods in Paterson in the Hunter Valley, while a man in Taree was rescued after found standing on his vehicle to escape from the rising waters.

On Friday night 13 properties in Dungog were also evacuated, with residents unable to return to their properties on Saturday.

More than 17,000 people in Forster and Tuncurry are currently stranded on the north coast due to the flood waters. It is expected they will remain isolated until Saturday night.

Over the past 24 hours there have been 973 calls for help, with 376 calls coming from residents in Sydney, Mr Campbell said.

"The rain is quite heavy in the mid north coast," he said.

Mr Campbell said the most common calls for help, being responded to by more than 400 SES workers in the field, were about wind damage, flash flooding and leaking roofs.

The SES says it's been the busiest day since last Sunday when tornadoes hit Kiama, in the Illawarra. The SES received more than 5000 calls for help between last Saturday and Tuesday.

"It has been a very busy week for the SES," Mr Campbell said.

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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