Thousands flee flood-hit Australian 'ghost town'

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Thousands flee flood-hit Australian 'ghost town'

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Emergency services on Tuesday ordered more than 8,000 people to leave their homes in a flood-hit town in southeastern Australia.

Many low-lying properties in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales have already been inundated with water. A state of emergency has been declared.

Officials said the nearby Murrumbidgee river would peak at 10.6 metres later on Tuesday. A levee that protects the town centre is 11 metres high.

One man died when his Jeep was swept away by floodwaters.

Many residents are leaving nothing to chance; Wagga Wagga has been described by local reporters on the ground as a “ghost town”.

Locals gathered up their belongings overnight and laid sandbags outside their homes and businesses before heading to higher ground.

An additional 5,000 people across the state of New South Wales have been told to evacuate.

Flood warnings are also in place in neighbouring Victoria state and Queensland, northeast Australia.