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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones