Queensland floods: Towns isolated as supplies dwindle and rain eases

Major flooding in northern Australia has begun to ease but many towns remain isolated in crocodile-infested waters as supplies dwindle.

Extreme weather driven by ex-tropical cyclone Jasper has dumped a year’s worth of rain on parts of Queensland.

Some rivers have swollen to record levels, flooding homes, severing roads and power, and forcing people to flee houses in boats. One man is missing.

One badly-hit town is now being evacuated after a failed first effort.

ABC reported that about 20 people had been airlifted from Wujal Wujal by military helicopter. Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott told the broadcaster they looked “pretty happy” after landing in nearby Cooktown.

Wujal Wujal has a population of around 300, and is just one of a number of cut-off settlements suffering a shortage of food and water stocks.

Its former mayor Desmond Tayley earlier told ABC he had “grave concerns” for the community’s elderly and vulnerable people, after Monday’s evacuation attempt was thwarted by bad weather.

“Desperate” locals had started to “risk their lives” by traversing dangerous floodwaters in which six-metre crocodiles had been spotted, he said. “Being attacked by one of those, you never see someone again.”

A search continues for a missing man, 85, who was last seen in nearby Degarra late on Sunday.

Rescue and relief efforts in the region have also been hampered by the closure of Cairns Airport – where planes were pictured submerged on Sunday – though the facility is now expected to reopen.

Queensland authorities say the rain is now less intense, and river levels have begun to fall.

An aerial view of floodwater near Cairns
Image caption,Areas around Cairns have received more than 2m (7ft) of rainfall since Thursday

State officials have promised essential supplies including medicine are being urgently flown to towns across the region.

As some areas begin cleaning up, locals have been warned of risks including disease from contaminated water and displaced wild animals.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who will visit the flood zones later this week, also announced emergency payments for those affected, and ongoing allowances for eligible people who have lost work as a result of the disaster.

“[There] will be some difficult days and weeks ahead. One of the things that I find though is that the worst of times brings out the best of the Australian character,” he said.

Many locals were taken by surprise at the extent of the downpour, with some saying they were not properly warned.

But Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather tracking systems could not have predicted the scale of the disaster, saying it was a “highly unpredictable weather system”.

The weather bureau had done its “absolute best” and given important advice to emergency crews, he added. “It is pretty remarkable that, in an event of this scale, that we have not yet lost a life or a serious injury.”

In recent years, Australia has been http://berdasarkanapa.com/ plagued by disasters including severe droughts and bushfires, successive years of record floods, and six mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef – increasing concerns about the impacts of climate change.

State authorities estimate the cost of this latest disaster will top A$1bn (£529m; $670m).

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