. Earth Science News .

Rising Australian floodwaters force mass evacuation
by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP) Feb 5, 2012

Thousands of Australians were forced to abandon their homes on Sunday as a record deluge swept through areas still reeling from last year's devastating floods, claiming its first life.

Police ordered the 3,800 residents of the town of St George, in northern Queensland state, to evacuate as rising floodwaters raced towards record heights, threatening to cut the one remaining exit road.

In the town of Roma, further north, a woman whose car was swept from a flooded roadway became the disaster's first official victim, with searchers finding her body two days after she went missing.

"Residents of St George are required to evacuate by road before the Moonie Highway is cut by floodwaters, which is expected to occur sometime in the early part of Sunday evening," police said in a mandatory evacuation order.

"Air evacuation to Brisbane is being organised to ensure evacuations can proceed after the Moonie Highway closes."

Police doorknocked every home in town to deliver the order and are permitted to use reasonable force if people refuse to leave, with mayor Donna Stewart warning resident safety could no longer be guaranteed.

"It's pretty panicky here," said St George resident Angela Doran.

"I think everyone just wants to get out now."

The swollen Balonne River, flooding for the third time in less than two years, was expected to peak at 15 metres (50 feet) on Tuesday night, far exceeding the previous record of 13.4 metres set in March 2010.

"This is a very serious situation and I urge people to cooperate," said Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard dispatched a military transport plane to airlift patients from the town's hospital to the coast, and the local nursing home was also being emptied.

Eight defence helicopters are already helping search and rescue efforts in the flood zone, winching people to safety and dropping food, bedding, medical supplies and other essentials such as generators.

St George has seen major flooding twice in the past two years, once in March 2010 and again last year during Queensland's flooding disaster, which claimed 35 lives and swamped vast tracts of farmland and tens of thousands of homes.

Deputy Queensland police commissioner Ian Stewart said the situation in the region had "deteriorated" overnight with "very large spikes" in water levels south of Roma, where 200 homes flooded earlier this week.

The woman who died in Roma had managed to save her seven-year-old son from the floodwaters but was swept away before she could be rescued, according to the Courier Mail newspaper. She had been helping neighbours to sandbag.

The Bureau of Meteorology said St George was expected to reach the 2010 flood level by Monday morning and "continue rising, possibly above 14 metres on Tuesday and Wednesday."

Residents scrambled to fortify levees still standing from last year's floods, with some locals saying they were prepared for a peak of 14.5 metres or worse.

"If it does reach the peak that they're talking about, if it goes across into the irrigation area, it's going to knock out thousands of hectares of cotton," local farmer Alex Benn told Sky News.

Flood defences held overnight in nearby Charleville, where some 600 people were holed up in an evacuation centre waiting for the Warrego River to subside.

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

UN makes new appeal for Philippine flood victims
Manila (AFP) Feb 3, 2012
The United Nations made an urgent appeal on Friday for millions of dollars in extra aid to help more than 300,000 people in the Philippines who were displaced by devastating floods late last year. The UN "flash appeal" was increased to $39 million, up from $28 million requested immediately after Tropical Storm Washi washed away whole villages on th southern island of Mindanao on December 16. ... read more

Debt crisis, earthquakes slam Munich Re 2011 profits

US Navy comes to rescue of Iranian fishing dhow

Radioactive water leak at Japan nuclear plant: report

Japan studies flora and fauna near Fukushima plant

Samsung condemns 'anti-Iran' ad featuring its tablet

Malaysia plant threatens China grip on rare earths

Kitchen Gadget Inspires Scientist to Make More Effective Plastic Electronics

Smart paint could revolutionize structural safety

China water project to begin operating in 2013: report

Are Nuisance Jellyfish Really Taking Over the World's Oceans?

Giant creature found in ocean depths

Filmmaker sounds alarm over ocean of plastic

Russian drill approaching long-buried lake

Voyage to the most isolated base on Earth

Norway blocking China's access to Arctic

The Arctic is already suffering the effects of a dangerous climate change

Africa land grabs 'could cause conflicts'

Livestock, not Mongolian gazelles, drive foot-and-mouth disease outbreaks

Cattle outbreak hitting Paraguay exports

Biodiversity enhances ecosystems global drylands

Tropical Cyclones to Cause Greater Damage

One dead, many stranded as Greek city floods

New Zealand quake toll officially put at 184: report

Strong 6.5 quake strikes off Vanuatu: Hong Kong Observatory

UN says 30,000 fled recent Sudan fighting

New study shows millions risk losing lands in Africa

Mali instals new defence minister after Tuareg raids

Tuareg rebels take Mali town after army pullout

Short-term memory is based on synchronized brain oscillations

Scientists decode how the brain hears words

Scientists decode brain waves to eavesdrop on what we hear

Making memories last


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement