At least two houses in the Australian state of New South Wales partially collapsed after powerful waves pounded the beachfront homes. The collapse occurred overnight.
Structural engineers were assessing the site on Saturday morning. Residents of up to 30 houses on the Ocean View Drive were asked to evacuate as a precaution. Sixty-six additional homes are believed to be at risk of collapsing into the sea.
Authorities recorded waves as high as 11 meter this week off the coast of Sydney.
Bureau of Meteorology issued a “hazardous” surf warning for the entire state’s 2,100km coastline. People were advised to stay away from the water, and warned against swimming, boating and rock fishing in the conditions.
In 2016, a storm surge caused severe damage to beachfront homes along the Collaroy plateau in northern Sydney.
In its 2018 State of the Climate report, the Bureau of Meteorology said that sea levels had been rising around Australia due to warming ocean temperatures.
It noted climate change had also led to an increase in extreme weather events such higher-than-normal rainfall and powerful storm surges.
Locals have been demanding a break wall to be built as they experienced higher tides. Margaret Bryce, the vice-president of the Wamberal Protection Society blamed the failure to erect a protective wall along the foreshore for the partial collapse.
“The wall was in development control plans for the Central Coast for at least 20 years and building was allowed on that basis, that a wall would be built here,” she told ABC.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that it’s got to this point.”