Saturday, February 14, 2009

More Than 10,000 Australians Have Lost Their Homes To Natural Disasters In Two Weeks

Amongst the horror and human carnage of the Victorian fires, the devastation wrought upon thousands in North Queensland has slipped into the background for many, understandably so. But floods and heavy rains that have reached more than two-thirds of Queensland in the past few weeks, more than one million square kilometres, have devastated cane and banana plantations, cut off entire towns, wiped away bridges and major roads and left, according to this story, thousands of people homeless. Combined with the 7000 thousand now homeless from the fires in Victoria, more than 10,000 Australians are urgently looking for somewhere else to live. Just mind-boggling :

In Ingham residents are beginning the clean-up. But the situation remains dire in Queensland's gulf country, which is experiencing the highest river peaks in 35 years.

In Karumba, a remote fishing town in the state's north-west, residents have been asked to cut back on showers because the town had as little as three days' drinking water left after a water pipeline to nearby Normanton burst. Some towns in the area have been without fresh food since early last month.

Many in the gulf expect to be flood-bound for at least another month.

The floods have devastated the state's sugar industry, which was already struggling due to years of poor growing conditions, high costs and low returns. The water has also damaged banana plantations, which were recovering from Cyclone Larry in 2006.

Yesterday heavy rain between Townsville and Mackay continued. Charters Towers, inland from Townsville, and Longreach, central Queensland were still on flood alert.