Added by Nigel Shelbourne on January 29, 2013
Hundreds of homes are at peril of being sweeped away by fast-flowing floodwaters in the Australian state of Queensland.
Mass evacuations have been done in the city of Bundaberg, north of Brisbane, in which waters in the Burnett River continued to swell over the maximum amount of nine metres.
Up to 2,000 properties have been swamped and the state’s premier, Campbell Newman, told press reporters the emergency was on a large scale.
“These are record overflows and we are in unchartered territory,” he said.
“The water is progressing exceptionally fast. Some estimates have put it at 40 knots, which renders the rescue of people ver risky or completely impossible, particularly with debris in the river system.
“We are also very concerned that the velocity of the river and the rise in water volumes signifies that literally, homes, specifically in northern Bundaberg, can be swept away. This is a very realistic possibility.”.
Wild weather created by the past cyclone Oswald have battered Queensland’s southeast during the past several days, leaving a minimum of three dead and thousands of homes either ruined or destroyed.
A number of people have by now needed rescuing from floodwaters, including a 14-year-old boy who was taken from a swollen river in a heart-stopping affair captured on video camera.
High speed blowing winds, and in a few locations small tornadoes, pulled down power lines, ripped roofs off residences and uprooted trees.
On Monday, at least 220,000 houses in southeast Queensland were with no electricity and residents in a number of communities were urged to leave their houses as waterways in the area breach their banks.
While the most serious scenario on Monday was in Bundaberg, the state capital Brisbane has been told to count on flooding this week.
Parts of the country’s third biggest city may be swamped for a second time in two years – in January 2011 more than 15,000 residential properties were affected by Brisbane’s worst flooding in over a century.
By Tuesday, about 3,500 homes and 1,500 business have been told to anticipate flooding as highwaters are swollen by the high amounts of rainfall in the region.
The metropolitan area of Ipswich, west of Brisbane, which likewise experienced extensive devastation in January 2011, is also due to flood again as the Bremer River peaked at 15 metres.
On Monday, the Brisbane River had already broken its edges in parts of the city center, flooding parks and bike paths.
The anticipated peak of 2.6 metres is nearly 2 metres lower than in 2011, and the authorities have been keen to stress the crisis in the city of 1.2 million people is not as severe.
However after dozens of outlying areas were inundated only two years back, emotions in Brisbane and Ipswich are still raw.
Previously this month a law firm announced it was putting together a class action in behalf of flooding victims who charge authorities of mishandling the release of water from Wivenhoe Dam.
Two years ago authorities had absolutely no choice but to discharge an extraordinary quantity of water from the dam to spare the structure from succumbing.
Mr Newman, that was mayor of Brisbane in January 2011, said the situations of this year’s flooding occasion are different.
“Running a dam is quite a complicated operation. What the people running the dam are doing is all the things they can to take the shock from the system and to make certain we have the smallest possible water levels in the Brisbane River.
“But there is flooding in the Lockyer (Valley), there’s flooding in the Bremer River, and those watercourses go in to the Brisbane River downstream from Wivenhoe Dam. They could not be regulated,” added the mayor.