Woman swept away drowns in Australian floodwaters
Sunday 02 January 2011
A woman drowned after trying to cross a flooded causeway in Australia, becoming the first victim of relentless flooding that one official has described as reaching "biblical proportions," police said.
Days of pounding rain last week left much of northeastern Australia swamped by a sea of muddy water, with flooding affecting about 200,000 people in an area larger than France and Germany combined. The rain has stopped, but rivers are still rising and overflowing into low-lying communities as the water moves toward the ocean.
On Saturday night, two cars trying to cross a flooded causeway were swept into a river in Burketown, in western Queensland state, police said. A 41-year-old woman traveling in the second car disappeared in the rushing water, and her body was recovered Sunday about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) away, Queensland police said.
"We're just grateful there weren't more casualties," Queensland's Acting Assistant Police Commissioner Alistair Dawson said. "We're focused on preventing any more."
About 1,000 people were living in evacuation centers across the state, and it may be a month before floodwaters dry up, Dawson said.
"It's hard to make the call that the worst is behind us," he said. "It's a unique event — parts of the state are still in response mode while others are in recovery. I think we're in the middle of the event."
Officials say half of Queensland's 715,305 square miles (1.8 million square kilometers) has been affected by the flooding. Queensland Premier Anna Bligh warned that cleanup efforts were expected to cost billions of dollars.
Another severe thunderstorm was expected to sweep through much of southern Queensland later Sunday, bringing damaging hail and winds and the potential for flash flooding, the state Bureau of Meteorology warned.
"In many ways, it is a disaster of biblical proportions," Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser told reporters in the flooded city of Bundaberg on Saturday.
The city of Rockhampton, near the coast, is the next community in the water's path, and is bracing for flood levels to peak Wednesday.
Officials have been evacuating Rockhampton residents for days, and some were still being moved on Sunday. Mayor Brad Carter warned about 40 percent of the city could be affected by the surging waters, and residents could be forced to wait at least two weeks before returning home.
Around 1,000 homes had water in their yards by Sunday, Dawson said. About 30 residents were staying at an evacuation center, while others have moved in with friends and relatives.
Not everyone was outwardly worried. Water was lapping at the steps of one Rockhampton pub, but the owner had no plans to close down.
"In the big cities, they pay big bucks for canal frontage," Fitzroy Hotel owner Tony Higgins said.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Defence witness contradicts athlete version
Oscar Pistorius trial: The case against Oscar Pistorius – and why the prosecution claims his story doesn't add up
South Korea ferry: Captain Lee Joon-seok could face criminal investigation as over 280 remain missing
Peaches Geldof dead: Private funeral for the family and friends of the socialite will take place next week
Shropshire criminals ‘using unmanned drones and infrared cameras to find illegal cannabis farms’ – and then steal from the growers
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
- 1 Poveglia: 'World's most haunted island' up for sale...is anyone brave enough to buy it?
- 2 The Hobbit: There and Back Again set for possible title change
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Andre Johnson: Wu-Tang Clan-discovered rapper severed his penis and jumped from LA building
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...