SYDNEY, March 31 (Xinhua) -- The carnage from Cyclone Debbie continued on Friday, as towns in northern New South Wales are being evacuated after severe flooding threatens lives and property.
Floods reaching three metres high are expected in the city of Lismore, and over 6000 people were evacuated from their homes overnight, and 20 thousand residents expected to be affected by the floods.
Emergency services crews have worked tirelessly in an effort to save residents from the rolling water tides, with 130 life-saving rescues occurring overnight, and helicopter crews are set to work all day today to assist people still trapped in the floodwaters.
New South Wales SES Deputy Commissioner Mark Morrow told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Friday, the worst is yet to come.
"There could be people overnight that perished in that flood, we don't know at this stage," Morrow said
"We expect this morning that as we start to go out and try to find people that made those calls overnight, there could be some very distressing news."
Since Wednesday, there have been over 1,400 calls to the State Emergency Services for assistance, with some of the hardest hit areas, such as the Tweed River Valley, recording 500mm to 740mm of rainfall over the past 24 hours.
But the continuing drama is not just isolated to New South Wales, with the state of Queensland still under threat from the catastrophic aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.
Schools across the south-eastern parts of the state remain closed for the second day, with major flood warnings being issued for low-lying areas around one of the state's biggest tourism hot-spots, the Gold Coast, as Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart called for people in potential danger zones to leave their homes immediately.
"Floodwaters are approaching, and they are putting out SMS alerts to people in those areas, asking people to go to higher ground, to evacuate to friends and family," Stewart said.
"They are urgent alerts and we have asked the community to take them seriously.
According to the Premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk, over 140,000 homes remain without power across the south-eastern and northern parts of the state.