Oz city at risk from flash floods

Oz city at risk from flash floods

Oz city at risk from flash floods

Cars jammed the streets in Brisbane’s low-lying central business district, with residents scrambling to secure their possessions and move to safe areas as the swollen Brisbane River began bursting its banks.

The city’s mayor, Campbell Newman, warned that at least 6,500 homes could be flooded by Thursday, when the river is expected to peak at about 20 feet above its usual level, the biggest flood in 35 years.

“We are facing one of our toughest ever tests,” Anna Bligh, the Queensland premier, told reporters in Brisbane. “We do have a very serious natural disaster on our doorstep and we will all have to work together.”

Five children were among the 10 killed late on Monday as the deluge tore through Toowoomba and other parts of the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane, upending cars and ripping buildings from their foundations. Some 78 people were still missing late on Tuesday, and police warned that they had “very grave fears” for 18 of those missing. At least 20 people have been killed in the floodwaters that have swept vast areas of Australia’s northeastern Queensland state.

Emergency crew members worked frantically to rescue hundreds of people left stranded by the raging floodwaters—described by some locals as an “inland tsunami”—that Toowoomba and several smaller towns.

Around 300 people were plucked from the disaster zone by helicopter on Tuesday after the tiny hamlet of Forest Hill was cut off by the torrent, Ms. Bligh said.

“The circumstances in Queensland continue to be very dire indeed,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters in Canberra. “The nation does need to brace itself for the fact that the death toll as a result of yesterday’s flash flooding is likely to rise.” Torrential rains and flooding has affected parts of waterlogged Queensland since late December.