three towns cut off by water rely on airdrops for food and medical supplies

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Three New South Wales towns cut off by floodwaters have formed a ‘flood island’ triangle requiring airdrops of food and medicine, as more than 100 flood warnings remain in place in a reeling state a one-week emergency.

There were 16 emergency warnings in place across New South Wales on Monday morning, with some towns expected to see flooding like “they’ve never seen before”, the state emergency service said , while a massive cleanup began in Wagga Wagga and Forbes, where water levels peaked over the weekend.

Alethea Duley of the NSW SES said the mid-west of the state was the main area of ​​concern.

Major flooding was still occurring in Forbes – where the Lachlan River peaked at 10.67 meters on Saturday, slightly below record levels – as well as around 100km away in Condobolin.

Related: The found body of a second man who died when the ute was swept away by the roadway during the NSW floods

“As soon as Forbes pulls back, it [water] will then go downstream to Condobolin, where flooding they’ve never seen before will occur,” Duley said.

Condobolin could see a peak of 7.3 meters later this week, she said.

The NSW SES received more than 300 calls for help and carried out 13 flood rescues in the 24 hours to Monday morning.

A pregnant woman who was rescued in Forbes by the SES after her waters broke over the weekend has given birth safely, the local Western NSW Health District has confirmed.

Ashley Sullivan of NSW SES said a volunteer transported the woman across the middle of the river in a wide-body vehicle to Forbes Hospital.

Transporting essential workers continues to pose challenges, with nurses being transported to Forbes Hospital via SES boats.

The local council has also issued residents with a ‘boil water order’ until further notice.

Duley said flooding continued along the Murrumbidgee River, with the area outside the city embankment in North Wagga Wagga still experiencing moderate flooding. However, notices to return with caution have been issued.

Along the Barwon-Darling River, Duley said the towns of Walgett, Collarenebri and Lightning Ridge are a “triangle of completely isolated communities…like a flood island in the middle.”

All three towns are surrounded by floodwaters, and Duley said the SES was using planes to drop medical supplies and food, as well as fodder for livestock.

In Victoria, 39 warnings and advisory messages were in place across the state, including the latest evacuation warning on Sunday for Kenley in the rural town of Swan Hill.

A spokesman for the state control center said on Monday floodwaters continued to rise along the Murray River downstream of Wakool Junction, with “major flooding currently occurring in Kenley.”

The spokesman said the Murray River at Swan Hill is likely to exceed moderate flood level of 4.6 meters on Monday and may exceed major flood level of 4.7 meters on Friday.

The spokesman said many preparations were underway, with the Murray River potentially reaching major flood levels comparable to 1975 by the end of the month.

Albury reached moderate flood levels due to releases from the Hume Dam combined with flooding from the Kiewa River, with flooding also occurring in Corowa, Yarrawonga and Tocumwal.

In Echuca, waters are expected to remain above major flood levels until at least Tuesday, the spokesperson said, and major flooding could continue into next week along the Murray River to Moama.

Jemima Lewis lives with her in-laws in Echuca, as her home was outside the seawall and was “completely damaged” by three weeks in standing black water.

Lewis said only a few areas of the city were still flooded, with most of Echuca “back to normal”. She said it was the time of year when the seasonal tourist town usually receives its greatest influx of visitors, who she hopes will return.

The state control center spokesman said Murray River levels at Torrumbarry Weir are expected to remain stable at major flood levels until mid-November.

At Koondrook Primary School, which received an evacuation notice on Friday, the spokesperson said there were concerns about the integrity of the dyke.

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