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FIRST ON 7: Tonight 20,000 people are isolated by floodwaters across northern New South Wales, and the priority is rescuing those who need medical help.

Among them was a mother, airlifted from her cut-off property near Palmvale, to the Gold Coast hospital after giving birth.

With her house cut off by floodwaters, Rachael Smith, gave birth overnight to baby Sabre.

She had to wait until this morning for the rescue helicopter to arrive, something she said certainly wasn't part of her birthing plan.

"It was too flooded to get across so I just said I think the baby's coming now," Rachael said.

Father Joe called neighbours for help when he realised Sabre was coming, three weeks early.

"The delivery itself was beautiful and wonderful, and he came straight out into my hands and I put him on Rachael's chest," Joe said.

An ambulance eventually managed to cross the causeway, and paramedics checked that little baby Sabre was all right.

Then the Careflight chopper flew mum and new bub north to the Gold Coast, a ride Rachael said her son enjoyed.

"He loved it I think, so we're going to get him his own helicopter," she laughed.

With more rain coming and the river still high, the Smith family aren't taking any chances.

Rachel and Sabre will remain in hospital until the weather clears, and it's safe to return home.

From the newborn to the elderly

Meanwhile, rescuers near Kempsey were called to help Jacqueline Smith when she was trapped by floodwaters at Gladstone.

Jacqueline Smith travelling by Careflight helicopter to Kempsey Hospital. Photo: 7News

Suffering serious complications from recent open heart surgery, the 85-year-old was airlifted straight to intensive care.

"[Jacqueline] was in a terrible state, she had difficulties breathing, difficulties talking,' Careflight pilot Joe Cleary said.

She is now recovering in Kempsey Hospital, which is much to the relief of her family, including 33 great-grandchildren.

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