Friday, January 14, 2011

Australian floods: Clean-up begins in Brisbane

Regions of Queensland (left) have begun re-emerging from the floodwaters, as Brisbane started a mass clean-up following the deluge that has swamped thousands of homes over the past few days.

As the water receded, putrid mud and debris was left covering much of the city, and many were tentatively returning to their homes to survey the damage following one of Australia's worst natural disasters.

"There is a lot of heartache and grief as people start to see for the first time what has happened to their homes and their streets," Queensland state premier, Anna Bligh (right), said.

"In some cases, we have street after street after street where every home has been inundated to the roof level."

The flooding across Australia's north-east has so far caused 25 deaths, and another 55 people remain missing.

There is still concern that officials will find more bodies when they are able to reach towns hit by flash flooding (left) on Monday. Most of those missing are from Toowoomba, a city west of Brisbane in the Lockyer valley, where a sudden downpour caused a flood likened to an inland tsunami.

Police commissioner Bob Atkinson they may never be able to find everyone swept away by the torrent.(Right: rescue workers pull cars from flooding)

"We would certainly hope they would find them all," Atkinson said. "Regrettably, we could not exclude completely the possibility that some may never be found."

Military helicopters (left) endeavored to reach those stranded today to provide food, clothing and supplies as health officials warned residents to throw away anything that had touched the contaminated waters.

Throughout Brisbane many reported a highly toxic smell of mud and debris spreading through the area.

"What the city has to prepare itself for ... is the unbearable stench," Bligh said. "The smell of it is just unspeakable." (Right: Brisbane flooding)

While power has been restored to 170,000 homes in Brisbane, around 66,000 homes across south-east Queensland remain without electricity.

The prime minister, Julia Gillard (left), doubled the number of defense personnel involved in the recovery effort to 1,200, which is the largest deployment for a natural disaster since Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin in 1974.

"There's a lot of dirt, a lot of filth, a lot of mess that needs to be cleaned up," Gillard said. "We've been through some very difficult days and there's still a lot to go through in the weeks and months that lie ahead." (Right: Major roads still flooded in Brisbane)

The Guardian,"Australian floods: Clean-up begins in Brisbane", by Lee Glendinning, accessed January 13, 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment