Tsunami-like floods race to NE Australia

JNN 11 Jan 2011 : Australia is bracing for more downpours after flashfloods claimed at least eight lives in a small town near the northeastern city of Brisbane, Queensland’s capital city.

Tsunami-like flashfloods raced toward Australia’s third-largest city of Brisbane on Tuesday, prompting the evacuation of thousands of residents from its outskirts, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

After a surging two-meter wall of water killed at least eight people overnight in the town of Toowoomba in west Brisbane, a flood warning was issued for the financial district in Brisbane.

Australian authorities have also predicted that the death toll is likely to climb. Nearly 70 people have been reported missing after flood waters inundated Toowoomba.

Queensland State Premier Anna Bligh said four children lost their lives and there were “grave concerns” for at least 11 of the 72 missing.

The flood threat is expected to peak in the country’s third largest city in the coming days.

Officials say some 6,500 properties are at risk of being submerged in Brisbane’s worst flooding in 118 years, while, a further 16,500 properties would be partially affected. The country’s prime minister has also warned of a grim situation ahead.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has warned Queenslanders that there are more dark days ahead as they try to deal with massive flooding across the South of the state.

Queensland has been in the grip of its worst flooding for more than two weeks, after tropical downpours across a vast portion of the state covered an area the size of France and Germany combined.

Entire towns have been swamped, with more than 200,000 people affected, and the coal and farming industries virtually shut down.

The state estimates the deluge will cost $5 billion and has earmarked $680 million for emergency repairs.


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