Floods pile further misery on Australia

Flooding rivers and heavy rains cut off towns, stopped mining operations and damaged crops in three Australian states today - one week after devastating bushfires swept the country's southeast killing 200 people.





The tropical state of Queensland has been battling major floods since December 2008, with 62 per cent of the state underwater, after a series of storms and a tropical cyclone.



The damage bill in Queensland is estimated at A$210m (£94m) and the floods are not expected to subside for another month, emergency services in the state said today.



Scientists say climate change will bring not only warmer temperatures to Australia, and as a result more droughts and bushfires, but also more extreme weather like tropical storms that cause floods.



Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to come under pressure to introduce a tougher climate policy later this year as a result of the nation's deadliest bushfires last Saturday and the subsequent flooding.



Thousands of cattle are estimated to have perished during the Queensland floods, which have also cut off roads and swamped properties across the state's remote northern regions.



"There have been losses (of livestock) and they are potentially in the thousands, but until people can get around nobody is putting a figure on it," AgForce chief executive Andrew Freeman told local media.



People in Queensland have been warned to be on the lookout for crocodiles and snakes in floodwaters.



A five-year-old boy was taken by a crocodile earlier this month after he followed his dog into floodwaters at Cape Tribulation.



He disappeared in the water and his brother saw a large crocodile near where he was last seen, a police statement said.





Australia is the world's third biggest sugar exporter and sugar farmers in Queensland, who produce 95 per cent of the crop, are facing substantial losses. The extent of the damage will not be known until floodwaters recede.



Heavy rain and flooding forced mining giant Rio Tinto Ltd/Plc to suspend iron ore mining and rail haulage today over a large part of the Pilbara region in Western Australia state.



All operations at the company's Pannawonica, Brockman and Nammuldi mines have been halted, and pit mining at Tom Price and Paraburdoo have also been brought to a standstill, it said.



Flooding along the 50 mile road separating Rio's two main ports at Dampier and Cape Lambert made it difficult to fully assess the impact the bad weather was having on operations that unload up to a half-million tonnes of ore daily.



A low depression storm off the east coast caused heavy rains today in New South Wales state, flooding rivers and isolating towns. "Some of the towns are the wettest they have been in 20 to 30 years," said a weather official.



The outback town of Bourke, in drought last week, has recorded 232 mm of rain in recent days, more than two-thirds of its annual rain. While the coastal town of Bellingen was cut off today after receiving 323 mm in 24 hours.



"Both sides of the town are flooded," said the manager of the Diggers Tavern in Bellingen.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine