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Worst flooding in decades hits Australia's east coast

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Australia's most populous state of New South Wales on Sunday issued more evacuation orders following the worst flooding in decades. The NSW State Emergency Services responded to 640 calls for help on Saturday night, including 66 for flood rescues. Chloe Bailey of CBS News partner 10 News First reports from Sydney.

Video Transcript

- Heavy rains have triggered severe flooding along Australia's East Coast. Officials ordered thousands of people to evacuate as the water damaged homes and businesses. Chloe Bailey with Network 10 Australia shows us what's left behind.

CHLOE BAILIEY: Only from the sky can you see the full devastation in Port Macquarie. Dozens of coastal homes inundated, businesses in the center of town not spared. Up and down the coastline, the past 24 hours have seen dozens of delicate rescue operations. Preserving life the number one priority.

The waters are dangerous, full of debris. The weather system battering the coast has brought with it hazardous surf. Yesterday, it's believed a man went missing from the Coffs Harbor northern breakwall. The rescue effort to find him today had to be called off due to the conditions.

As rain continues to fall for many homeowners on the Mid-North Coast, it's an anxious wait.

- I've got my parents, got the cars up on higher ground. The choppers are just flying around everywhere. It's just horrific, mate.

CHLOE BAILIEY: Homes up high aren't safe, either. A land slip in Newcastle caused the earth from under this house to slide away. Far and wide, the damage bill is adding up. In Taree, business owners are back in their shops.

- Devastating, mate. Devastating. But the whole town's in the same situation.

CHLOE BAILIEY: They weren't sure what they'd return to.

- Big losses. Yeah, yeah. Everything's gone.

- The Manning river water level has made Martin Bridge so dangerous, not even emergency services can drive across it. The river peaked at 5.65 meters yesterday, levels, which haven't been seen in decades.

- Hopefully, we don't get a second rise in water, which is insane.

CHLOE BAILIEY: Nearby, Coralie Mason and her son are trying to pick up the pieces.

- I'm gutted. Like, I guess if I don't laugh or cry, that I've made a couple of cries over the last 24 hours.

CHLOE BAILIEY: SES reinforcements are also coming from interstate. 85 personnel will head here from South Australia and Queensland, while Victoria will send another 40 people to help.

Much needed help when the end to this weather event is still days away. For CBSN, I'm Chloe Bailey in Sydney.