Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Deadly downpours, floods pummel eastern Australia

Deadly downpours, floods pummel eastern Australia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman makes her way next to spillover from the flooded Parramatta river at the ferry wharf in Sydney on Wednesday after heavy rain lashed eastern Australia. AFP

Deadly downpours, floods pummel eastern Australia

Torrential downpours lashed eastern Australia on February 26, raising deadly floodwaters to decades-long highs, swamping homes and sweeping away cars.

Police in the eastern state of Queensland said they had found the body of a 37-year-old man, raising the flooding death toll to at least five people.

Images of southeast Queensland broadcast on Australian media showed homes and roads flooded, areas of land transformed into lakes and a large chunk of a concrete pier floating down the fast-running Brisbane River.

The water snatched the car of a team of four emergency services workers who were heading to rescue a family from their flooded home overnight, said state police disaster coordinator Steve Gollschewski.

“The vehicle in which they were travelling was swept off the road into floodwaters. Three of our members were rescued. One of those members is deceased,” Gollschewski told a news conference.

Elsewhere, another man’s body was found overnight.

“In some parts of southeast Queensland, this is the biggest event that they will see in a number of decades,” said state police and emergency services minister Mark Ryan.

“And the rain has not stopped – in fact, there are some parts where it is intensifying.”

The Queensland town of Gympie was facing a “hell of a lot of water” as the Mary River rose, Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig was quoted as saying by national broadcaster ABC.

In the town’s Royal Hotel, “without a submarine or a snorkel, you will not be having a beer,” Hartwig said.

“It’s floor-to-ceiling and over the roof in some areas.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Mary River could rise above 21m at Gympie. It may exceed levels last seen there in February 1999, the bureau of meteorology said.

As a precaution, Queensland would be issuing evacuation alerts, notably targeting about 700 residents in the Gympie area, the premier said.

“If we don’t do this now people will become isolated and trapped,” she warned.

The premier said her “heart goes out” to the volunteer emergency services worker, 62-year-old Merryl Dray, who died “trying to save her community”.

Emergency services had responded to more than 1,800 calls for help in 24 hours in southeast Queensland, officials said.

Rainfall in some areas of the state had exceeded records going back decades, said senior Queensland meteorologist David Grant.

He predicted further rain on February 27 as the weather system moved away more slowly than had been anticipated.

“There is now going to be an increased risk of dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding, and even the potential for localised landslides,” he told a news conference.

Heavy rain also hit the state capital Brisbane.

“Essentially we’ve seen a month’s worth of rainfall fall in one day for just Brisbane alone,” Grant said.

Rescuers undertook 132 rescues in swift water conditions in 24 hours, said Greg Leach, Queensland’s commissioner for fire and emergency services.

“Our catchments are completely saturated. Our rivers are rising. We have flash flooding. Now is not the time to be out in southeast Queensland if you don’t have to be,” Leach said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Research key to Kanitha’s rep for expertise

    Sok Kanitha is used to weighing in on controversial issues using a confident approach that signals expertise and authority, and a recent video she made was no exception. Her “Episode 342: The History of NATO” video went live on January 16, 2023 and immediately shot to 30,000 likes and 3,500

  • Cambodia maintains 'Kun Khmer' stance despite Thailand’s boycott threat

    Cambodia has taken the position that it will use the term "Kun Khmer" to refer to the sport of kickboxing at the upcoming Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, and has removed the term Muay from all references to the sport. Despite strong reactions from the Thai

  • Artificial insemination takes herd from 7 to 700

    Some farms breed local cows or even import bulls from a broad for the purpose of breeding heavier livestock for meat production. One Tbong Khnum farmer has found a more efficient way. Hout Leang employs artificial insemination to fertilise local cows. Thanks to imported “straws”

  • Chinese group tours return to Cambodia starting Feb 6

    Cambodia is among 20 countries selected by Beijing for a pilot programme allowing travel agencies to provide international group tours as well as flight and hotel packages to Chinese citizens, following a three-year ban. As the days tick down until the programme kicks off on February 6,

  • Capital-Poipet express rail project making headway

    The preliminary results of a feasibility study to upgrade the Phnom Penh-Poipet railway into Cambodia’s first express railway indicate that the project would cost more than $4 billion and would take around four years to complete. The study was carried out by China Road and

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior