Monday, January 24, 2011

Australian Floods.. ( BBC) warnings stil 2005:

Australia floods: 'Inland sea' moves across Victoria

Rural communities are desperately trying to shore up their flood defences to hold back the advancing waters.
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Parts of the south-eastern Australian state of Victoria are braced for the approach of a giant lake of floodwater 55 miles (90km) long, as Australia's severe flooding problems continue.

Deputy PM Wayne Swan said the recent floods would rank as one of Australia's most costly natural disasters ever.

More than 30 people have been killed since flooding began last month.

In Queensland, which has witnessed the worst of the flooding, nine people are still missing.

Floods tore through the towns of Toowomba and Grantham.

But record rains have shifted the flood emergency focus from the north-eastern state to Victoria in the south-east, which is experiencing its worst floods since records began 130 years ago.

The Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) has issued evacuation warnings for communities east of the city of Kerang, which remains cut off.

In all, more than 75 towns have been affected, and the SES said up to 10 towns remained in the floodwaters' northern path across flat, wheat-growing country.

In the city of Swan Hill, people have been building makeshift levees to hold back the Murray River, which is expected to carry the bulk of the floodwaters as they run off over the next 10 days.

Sandbags and misery

"There is no doubt the recent floods will rank as one of the most costly natural disasters in our history," said Mr Swan, who is also Australia's treasurer.

The impact of the floods was worse than a series of natural disasters in the 1970s and wildfires in 2009 in which 173 people died, he said in his first economic note of the year.