World — 17 January 2011

Here is a morning situation report (sitrep) updating you with Australia’s flood disaster as of Monday, January 17, 2011.

Queensland
The death toll from the Queensland floods is now 18 dead, with the discovery of a woman’s body in the rubble of a home near Grantham, and the body of a middle-aged man found in a pile of flood debris near Lockyer and Gatton Creeks, between Helidon and Withcott. 14 people are still officially missing.

The search for more dead bodies in the stinking mud and debris in the Lockyer Valley has now been extended and will continue for several more days. Many soldiers are searching on both banks of the deep and dangerous Gatton Creek, where waters are still flowing fast after the flood tsunami last week.

Three more people caught looting. That brings the total arrested to 13. If convicted, they face up to ten years in jail.

More than ten thousand volunteers spent yesterday cleaning up debris in Brisbane and Ipswich, and today, Brisbane Mayor Campbell Newman is calling for people to return to their workplace. We need businesses to get back into operation as soon as possible, he said.

Australia’s Federal Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has said the disaster will be the most expensive in Australia’s history.

New South Wales
The flood emergency in NSW is winding down as flood waters slowly recede. Grafton residents have returned to their homes. Many other towns and communities are still cut off by water, but the focus now is on getting food supplies through to isolated communities and farms.

Victoria
Residents of Victoria are bracing themselves today for a major flood event, caused by record-breaking rains over the past few days. Some 4,000 people in more than 40 towns are already affected by rising flood waters.

So far, Victoria’s emergency services have performed 50 flood rescues, 30 of which were to save people trapped in their stranded cars.

Horsham is bracing itself for the worst flooding in 100 years as the waters keep rising in the Wimmera River. The SES has warned residents to safeguard their homes in low-lying areas near the Wimmera River. The water is expected to rival the record flood of 1909 flood and is likely to reach Horsham’s central business district.

Carlton is flooded and has been cut off. Kerang has a flooded sub-station and Vic SES has advised residents to leave, and an emergency alert has been issued for Wycheproof.

Yesterday, the Wimmera River flood peak moved past Dadswells Bridge and Burnt Creek.

The Campaspe River at Echuca has flooded into homes near the river.

Near Warrnambool, water at the Panmure Bridge has been rising rapidly. Debris is flowing past and police have warned sightseers in the area that they are in danger.

The Western Highway has reopened with speed reductions because of damage to the road surface.

Tasmania

Residents on the Clayton River Basin are on alert for flooding, and there are still multiple roads closed in the northwest part of the state.

A big Tasmanian insurer is expecting a significant number of claims as the clean-up continues from this week’s heavy rains.

Editor’s note: This story is out of date. You can read the afternoon sitrep here: /australia-floods-afternoon-sitrep-jan-17-2011-887434.html

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About Author

David Harvey, Editor

David Harvey left school at 17 and went straight into newspapers as a cadet reporter. (He also a keen photographer and learned both trades.) He worked as a photojournalist in Hong Kong and as a war correspondent in Vietnam during the war. He moved to Australia in the late 1970s and got involved in I.T. during the mid-80s. This website is his latest venture here, combining news-gathering with the power of the internet. See: news-reporter

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