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Pacific Australia Floodwaters Cover Area Bigger Than Texas

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by findingmyway, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. findingmyway

    findingmyway
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    Queensland, Australia — Military aircraft dropped supplies to towns cut off by floods in northeastern Australia as the prime minister promised new assistance Friday to the 200,000 people affected by waters. Southern Australia, meanwhile, soaring temperatures and tinder dry conditions have sparked wildfires.

    Residents were stocking up on food or evacuating their homes as rising rivers inundated or isolated 22 towns in the state of Queensland.
    Authorities warned of rising health risks from floodwaters, along with the danger of crocodiles and snakes in flooded homes.

    "This disaster is a long way from over," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told reporters. Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured an evacuation center in the flood-stricken town of Bundaberg and announced that families whose homes had been flooded or damaged would be eligible for disaster relief payments of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child. "My concern is for the people in these very difficult times," Gillard said.

    Bundaberg resident Sandy Kiddle told Gillard she lost cherished items when floodwaters surged through her house. She said may not be able to return home for a week. "It was just a sea of water, and I thought the beach would never come to our house," she told Gillard, who gave her a hug.

    The inland sea that now stretches across Queensland is dotted with the roofs of flooded homes, islands of dry ground crowded with stranded livestock and small boats ferrying people and emergency supplies.
    Officials say half of Queensland's 715,305 square miles is affected by the relentless flooding, which began last week after days of pounding rain caused swollen rivers to overflow. The flood zone covers an area larger than Texas.

    While the rain has stopped, the rivers are still surging to new heights and overflowing into low-lying towns as the water makes its way toward the sea. The flooding was not expected to reach a peak in some areas until Sunday.

    The muddy water inundating thousands of homes and businesses has led to a shortage of drinking water and raised fears of mosquito-borne disease. "This is without a doubt a tragedy on an unprecedented scale," Bligh told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Bligh warned that drenched communities could be stuck underwater for more than a week, and cleanup efforts were expected to cost billions of dollars.

    Supplies of food and bedding were delivered by road and by military aircraft Friday to the towns of Rockhampton, Emerald, Springsure and Blackwater in central-east Queensland.

    Northeastern Australia often sees heavy rains and flooding during the Southern Hemisphere summer, but the scope of the damage from the recent downpours is unusual. The worst flooding in about 50 years has been caused by a "La Nina" weather pattern, which cools waters in the eastern Pacific and has produced torrential rain. Australia has endured its wettest spring on record, according to the national weather bureau, causing six river systems in Queensland to flood. Swollen rivers in New South Wales state have also caused flood damage to the wheat crop.

    The entire population of two towns has already been forced to evacuate as water swamped their communities, cutting off roads and devastating crops. The next city in the water's path — Rockhampton, near the coast — is bracing for flood levels forecast at 31 feet by Monday or Tuesday.

    Roads and railway lines were expected to be cut off by Saturday, and the city's airport planned to shut down over the weekend.

    A wallaby trapped by floodwaters stands on a large round hay bale outside the town of Dalby in Queensland, Australia, on Thursday. "This is a very serious situation," said Rockhampton Mayor Brad Carter, adding that level would affect up to 40 percent of the city. "Police are ordering people in affected areas to leave their homes." Officials were evacuating residents on Friday, starting with the elderly and those living in low-lying areas.

    There were concerns over food supplies in the city, with many stores already sold out of bread, milk and fresh meat, Carter said. Gary Boyer, regional manager of supermarket chain Woolworths, said the company was sending 43 trucks full of supplies into Rockhampton on Friday.


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40862006/ns/weather/
     

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  3. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Thanks for covering this. It is very difficult to wrap my brain around the extent of this disaster. There have been news articles, but the magnitude has not sunk in yet. Let's hope that recovery is swift. There have been too many places and people in the world that have suffered mightily this year. My prayers go out for everyone there, and for restoration of a unique environment too!
     
  4. Ishna

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    It's interesting since Queensland has had so many years of extreme drought, it's like nature has gone, "Oh crap, I forgot to water Queensland!" and is trying to catch up all at once.

    We've had a telethon on the weekend to raise money for them. Today's footage on the morning show was of cars being swept along like twigs. Roads have just about turned into rapids. It's nuts!

    And so far we haven't had much in the way of fire in South Australia... We're long past due though so each summer is a nail-biter.

    Ishna
     
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  5. Ishna

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    #4 Ishna, Jan 11, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  6. celtic

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    It's pretty scary. It's on the news everywhere—my mother-in-law is currently living and working just out of Brisbane, away from the rest of our family, so we're a bit concerned.
     
  7. AusDesi

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    RIP to all the dead. Although I live in Sydney, my employer has been affected by this as a lot of our clients are in Brisbane CBD.

    However, this is just so Australia. 10 years of drought and now, floods of a 100 year scale.

    "I love a sunburnt country,
    A land of sweeping plains,
    Of ragged mountain ranges,
    Of drought and flooding rains,
    I love her far horizons,
    I love her jewel sea,
    Her beauty and her terror -
    The wide brown land for me."
    Dorothea Mackellar
     
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