Authorities raise evacuation alerts in flooded rural Australian city

January 18, 2011 11:30 am 

CANBERRA, Jan. 18 – Evacuation alerts were issued Tuesday for several areas of Horsham, Victoria in Australia as floodwater began ravaging the rural city.

Horsham is increasingly resembling a lake that's cutting the town in two as floodwater continue to rise during its one-in-200-year event.

Areas close to the town's center went under up to a meter of water.

State Emergency Service (SES) warned over 111 houses in Horsham will have water over the floor boards and more than 500 houses will be affected by flooding.

"The reason we have taken this step of recommending people evacuate is because either houses will end up with water above floor level or because roads will become impassable," SES spokesman Stewart Walls told ABC News Tuesday.

"We prefer people to be able to get out. We are already seeing quite deep waters at the bottom end of Firebrace Street and in a number of other areas.

"We have power cut off to the bottom end of the Central Business District and we are planning for the water rising enough that it will cut the highway."

Almost 500 household in Horsham were without electricity Tuesday after the power network was sectioned off to protect critical infrastructure in the rural city's center.

More power cuts are expected in the town as rising floodwater swamp underground and low-lying power lines.

Mayor Michael Ryan said emergency services and volunteers are doing a "fantastic" job and mood in the town is "very calm."

Horsham is one of more than 40 flood-affected communities across Victoria. (PNA/Xinhua)

FFC/CJT/ebp

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