Australian Floods Kill 100, Displace 200,000 More

By: From CBS News/ Network 10 Australia
By: From CBS News/ Network 10 Australia

QUEENSLAND, Australia (CBS) -- Much of Australia is deep underwater, an area the size of France and Germany combined. Weeks of heavy rain have left parts of Queensland cut off from the rest of the country. At least 10 people are dead and the waters are still rising.

For the people across the sprawling northeastern corner of Australia the water just keeps coming. The town of Rockhampton, population 70,000, is the latest casualty. Rising tides from the local river have submerged houses, streets and the runway at the local airport. Authorities are busy evacuating remaining residents with waters expected to surround and flood nearly half the town by Wednesday.

"All we can do is follow the police directives and get people out who are prepared to get out and wish the people who want to stay here the very best of luck," says rescue worker David Lemmon.

More heavy rain bands forecast over the next 24 hours is expected to make a bad situation worse.

"We're still expecting this could potentially be the second or third largest flood this region has ever known," says Rockhampton mayor Brad Carter.

The flood waters aren't just damaging, they're dangerous. Hundreds of venomous snakes have already been flushed into nearby flooded streets and backyards. Close watch is being kept on a local crocodile farm which may come under threat as the waters keep rising.

To date more than 200,000 people have been displaced in a region larger than the state of Texas. Most areas have been declared disaster zones. Prolonged flooding is expected to cost Australia's farming and mining industries more than $6 billion dollars.

The floodwaters will remain high over the next two weeks and the economic and physical effects of one Australia's worst rainy seasons ever will be felt for months to come.


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