Asia-Pacific

Australia floods: Tide warning for Brisbane

Aerial view of flood water inundating the Wimmera and Southern Mallee region on January 19, 2011 in Victoria, Australia
Image caption In the southern state of Victoria, there is no end in sight to the floodwaters

Residents in the Queensland city of Brisbane have been warned to expect more flooding, as waters continue to swamp towns in the state of Victoria.

Officials say the unusually high tide expected in Brisbane on Friday could inundate low-lying areas and that more rain could make matters worse.

In Victoria, meanwhile, there are warnings that some flooded communities could be cut off for days.

About a quarter of the state has now been affected by the floods.

Most of the 3,500 residents of Kerang have left their homes, although a levee continued to hold back the worst of the flood.

Officials said they were concerned about the ability of the levee to withstand high flood levels for an extended period of time.

In Domboola, residents evacuated ahead of a peak on the Wimmera River.

"This flood event is still far from over," said Tim Wiebusch, director of operations for the State Emergency Service.

"We are likely to see this flood emergency continuing for at least another seven to ten days."

The floods in the south continue to threaten 72 towns across Victoria.

Flash floods

In Queensland, storms brought more rain to Brisbane and the Lockyer Valley area, which bore the brunt of last week's severe flooding.

In towns such as Bundaberg and Rockhampton, cars were swept off streets and an evacuation centre was flooded.

Heavy storms following the floods caught people out in waist-high water; one man had to cling to a tree as his car was swept away.

Brisbane's Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said Friday's king tide would "be similar to what occurred on the winter king tide in July and tidal flooding on 21 December last year."

Image caption Residents in Rockhampton, Queensland, face a long recovery process even as new floods threaten

"If you live in a foreshore or low-lying area, by the river, or near a creek, you must be prepared for some localised flooding on Friday."

Queensland State Premier Anna Bligh warned that recovery from weeks of devastating floods was still a long way off.

"People's homes are stripped, they've got nothing, we've got to rebuild their homes and help them rebuild their lives," she said.

She also paid tribute to the "Mop Army", saying the massive task of mopping up after the floods at first seem "insurmountable" but is now getting done.

Ms Bligh said a new Queensland Reconstruction Authority with powers to override local planning laws might decide to ban rebuilding in some flooded areas.

"The last thing we want to do is rebuild in the same place and see that house flooded again in two or three years' time."

Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the scale of devastation as "almost beyond imagining" after touring Brisbane.

But she insisted that rebuilding would take place.

Are you in the Australian state of Victoria? Have you been affected by the floods? Send us your experiences by using the form below.

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