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Natural disasters

Australia floods raise alarm on Sydney's great housing gamble

Plans to meet surging home demand go underwater as rain wreaks havoc

SYDNEY -- As Australia counts the multibillion dollar cost of the once-in-a-century rains that have flooded large parts of its east coast communities this week, experts are warning that even greater calamities lie ahead if Sydney's expansion onto a crucial flood plain is left unchecked.

Australian National University professor Jamie Pittock, an environmental scientist, told Nikkei Asia that the New South Wales state government should halt plans to move an extra 130,000 people into an area known as the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flood plain by 2050, and start helping people already living there relocate to safer sites.

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