Asia-Pacific

Australia floods: Your stories

A senior official in Australia has described the flooding in Queensland, Australia, as a disaster of "biblical proportions".

The floods have affected about 200,000 people, thousands of those have been evacuated.

The rising waters have affected an area larger than France and Germany combined.

Here, BBC News website readers in Queensland describe events where they live.

Saturday, 1 January

Alex Finlayson, Emerald

Image caption An effective mode of transport in the town of Emerald is paddling a canoe. Photo: Alex Finlayson

I live in Emerald with my wife who is seven and half months pregnant and our two-year-old daughter. I moved here from England a few years ago.

We moved into our new house four weeks ago, but it is now completely underwater.

On Tuesday afternoon the State Emergency Service sent text messages and email alerts to residents, and the army began helping us prepare for more floods.

By Wednesday morning we were told we needed to evacuate immediately and get to higher ground. We're now staying in a friend's place while he is trapped in Rockhampton.

We managed to salvage some furniture and a few possessions before we left, placing them in storage. The items we couldn't save have been lost. When we are eventually allowed back into our house to survey the damage, I'm sure we'll have to throw away a lot of the possessions we had to leave behind.

Our insurers will only cover damage caused by flash floods. Apparently the deluge of flood water that engulfed our neighbourhood didn't happen fast enough.

Image caption Alex took this photo of a flooded room in his home

Along with other local residents I placed hundreds of sandbags around people's homes to stop the water entering, but it seems that has been a futile effort.

The water is unstoppable. It's swept away everything in its path. And now we're bracing ourselves for more flooding.

The town's major supermarket has also been swamped with water and has had to give away fresh supplies to local residents. There are also concerns about food being rationed in isolated communities.

We are completely isolated from our home. But we are happy and healthy and my daughter is taking it all in her stride.

I'm not sure whether more could have been done to prevent the water from hitting our neighbourhood. But the floods would certainly have been more devastating without the help we received from our neighbours. Local residents have shown that there is still a good community spirit.

I'm just hoping my wife doesn't go into premature labour before the waters recede. Happy New Year from Emerald!

Petros Khalesirad, Rockhampton

Image caption The Fitzroy River has burst its banks. Photo: Petros Khalesirad

Friends have have set up measuring gauges at the Fitzroy River. Upstream it's 9.1 metres high, and downstream it's 8.6 metres. The normal height is around two metres. The measurements suggest that the river is spreading out and over the high banks.

The river has several other rivers and creeks that flow into it. What with waters coming from the west now, it is all very concerning.

Here in Rockhampton, we haven't had the worst of it yet. Other towns, like Emerald, Theodore and Chinchilla, are in a much worse state. But the way the river system works, we expect the waters from Emerald will reach us within 24 hours.

We are at the moment close to reaching the water level of the big 1991 floods. This time around it could be catastrophic.

The amount of water coming through our river is equivalent to Sydney Harbour every hour.

In 2008 people in Emerald experienced a flood disaster and people living in affected areas modified their houses, but they are under water again and it's getting worse.

We are lucky that we saw what happened in Emerald and we can prepare for the worst.

We set up an evacuation centre on the north side of the town and volunteers have evacuated houses that are thought to be worst affected. There have been forced evacuations of 2,000 residents. Where possible people have been evacuated to relatives and friends in other parts of town.

Some of the houses are already damaged - there's water on the ground level. But the way these houses are built, the living areas tend to be on the first floor, to avoid floods.

We've seen lots of panic-buying of food. Shelves in shopping centres are empty. But I think people have been over-reacting. We have groceries arriving today and in the worst case scenario, the military will help.

Right now many people across Australia are stuck while on holiday and unable to return home. It's the season to be jolly, it's the season to be camping. I know many families with kids who are stranded.

My involvement has been to post regular updates and information on my website about evacuation plans and how people should prepare. On Thursday I got 23,000 hits.

There are lots of road closures, and using social media, I'm trying to help people either get to their homes or get away from the affected areas.

Using #thebigwet hashtag on Twitter, I am also able to capture information in real time and I find it quicker than waiting for updates from the authorities.

I think that the least of our worries is the damage to small communities - they can be rebuilt.

These floods are going to affect the state, and the whole nation. It's going to have a huge impact on mining commodities - several coal mines are under water and some won't be operational for months.

There'll be a coal shortage and our ability to produce electricity will be affected. Certainly it will be an interesting start to the year.

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