Australian storms flood area the size of Britain

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Farmers in New South Wales are counting the cost of the worst floods to hit the state for 40 years, with an area the size of the United Kingdom submerged and £200m of crops and livestock destroyed.

Farmers in New South Wales are counting the cost of the worst floods to hit the state for 40 years, with an area the size of the United Kingdom submerged and £200m of crops and livestock destroyed.

Helicopters dropped emergency supplies to families left stranded when 13 river systems overflowed in the wettest November on record. The region has received 12in (240cm) of rain in the past week. Hundreds of homes have been evacuated in the worst-hit areas.

As the state government declared a natural disaster in some districts yesterday, the federal government pledged £4m in relief funds for farmers. Some of those contemplating their drowned livestock and ruined cotton and wheat crops have not seen a pay cheque for years because of seasons of drought, floods and disease.

Small businesses have also been badly affected. In Tamworth, cut in two by a raging river, Shelley Kuskoff and her family were forced to abandon the café that is their home and livelihood. "For us it could be bankruptcy," she said.

More than one-third of the state, at least 83,000 square miles, is under water. Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, said the government would consider bailing out farmers, acknowledging people were in "desperate straits".

Comments