viernes, 31 de diciembre de 2010

Australian floods affect 200000 people, cover an area the size of France and ... - New York Daily News

Friday, December 31st 2010, 12:44 PM

Australia may have to change its nickname to the land down underwater.

Floods covering an area larger than France and Germany have swamped northeastern Australia, affecting 200,000 people.

The floods are the result of last week's heavy rains that pounded the state of Queensland, causing rivers to overflow.

"This is without a doubt a tragedy on an unprecedented scale," Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Authorities think there will be a very large group of people who will be homeless in the next 24 hours," she said.

A wallaby is stranded in the middle of floodwaters. Skerman/AP

Frightened Aussies in the town of Rockhampton raced to stockpile bread and vegetables, the BBC reported.

"We've seen lots of panic buying of food. Shelves in shopping centers are empty," Rockhampton resident Petros Khalesirad said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited the hard-hit town of Bundaberg and announced relief payments of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child.

The floods cover an area bigger than the state of Texas. Norrish/Getty

Resident Sandy Kiddle described the flooding to Gillard, saying, "It was just a sea of water."

"I thought the beach would never come to our house," she said.

With News Wire Services

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