Storm lashes Australian eastern coast, threatening homes
0 month ago, 28-Jul-2020
WAMBERAL, Australia: Homes perched on Australias stunning eastern coast were at risk of being swept away yesterday, after days of driving rain, high winds and monster swells smashed the coastline.
The last 48 hours have brought fresh warnings of gale-force winds, rain and powerful surf to an area north of Sydney, where around 40 seafront properties have been damaged by successive storms in the last month.
Ive been living on this beach for 18 years, said resident Gordon Cahill weve had various storm events come and go. This time weve been nailed.
Erosion is seen under homes perched on Australias eastern coastal town of Wamberal that are at risk of being swept away after days of driving rain, high winds and monster swells smashed the coastline. AFP photo
Erosion has long posed a threat in the seaside town of Wamberal, destroying homes in the 1970s and again washing away huge swathes of the beachfront from properties in 2016.
But as climate change drives rising sea levels and increases the frequency and severity of storms, the beach will be unlikely to recover as well between storms as it has done in the past.
The government estimates 39,000 buildings are located close to soft shorelines around Australia and are at risk of erosion. Before the winter storms, residents of Wamberal had been campaigning for coastal protections to be built.
Cahill, whose deck collapsed in the storm after the surf ripped away chunks from his neighbours properties, has been living on the beach for 18 years and said sandstone s put in place by the original owners of the property had saved his home. He blamed local authorities for not allowing other residents to build similar protections.
We have been bringing this matter up with council for the best part of 30 years, through various organisations, through various people, after every storm, and its always the same deafening silence, he said.
But since a devastating storm hit more than two weeks ago the response had been different, with emergency crews working to the very last minute to help prevent further damage to properties, dumping sandbags and tonnes of rocks. Margaret Brice — one of the few people to have remained to brave the latest weather — said the episode was devastating and nerve-racking.
You can feel the vibrations through the house, you go and look out every day and a little bit more has slipped away, she said as set after set of frothing foam chipped away at the already crumbling cliff face below.
Unlike some houses in the area, now directly endangered by erosion, her home had foundations driven into the bedrock but as the coast fell away, she wondered what would be left if nothing was done. AFP
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