Skip to main content

Thousands stranded by floods in eastern Australia

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 6:39 AM EST, Sat February 4, 2012
An aerial view of flood affected streets on February 3, 2012 in Moree, Australia.
An aerial view of flood affected streets on February 3, 2012 in Moree, Australia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Queensland and New South Wales are suffering major flooding
  • Emergency officials issue evacuation orders for many communities
  • Supplies are flown into some towns cut off by flooding
  • Residents are urged not to walk or drive through flood waters because of the injury risk

(CNN) -- Heavy rains left thousands stranded in eastern Australia on Saturday as authorities warned of more flooding and urged several communities to flee to higher ground.

About 16,500 people are isolated because of flooding in New South Wales, with evacuation orders in place for several communities, the New South Wales Emergency Services said.

In the neighboring state of Queensland, authorities issued flood warnings for three towns, Surat, Roma and Mitchell, and warned residents living downstream of rivers to move to higher ground.

Residents of the southwestern Queensland town of Charleville are hoping that its protective levees will hold back the rising waters.

Emergency officials ordered evacuations early Saturday as they warned that the river was expected to top the levee banks within 12 hours.

Food and medical supplies have been flown to isolated communities elsewhere in Queensland.

In New South Wales, officials issued natural disaster declarations for several areas.

Flood waters have started to recede around North Moree after five days of major flooding, the New South Wales Emergency Services said, but many of the town's streets remain closed.

Aerial assessments show some 300 homes and businesses have been inundated -- making it the worst flooding in nearly 60 years, CNN affiliate Seven Network reported.

The State Emergency Service carried out 18 flood rescues from Friday to Saturday, Seven Network reported, including half a dozen people stuck on a shed roof near Moree with snakes swimming underneath them.

The airline Qantas put on a special flight to Moree on Saturday with supplies of fresh food and milk, the network added.

Major flooding has also affected communities along the Namoi River, leading to the rescue of at least one person trapped in a vehicle on a flooded bridge.

The town of Wee Waa is cut off, with all roads made impassable by flood water and the local airport also out of action, the New South Wales Emergency Services said. Major flooding is expected to continue there until the middle of next week.

Other communities affected by the Namoi River include Boggoabri, Narrabri Bugilbone and Goangra, with flood waters closing roads and inundating some rural properties..

Emergency officials urged people not to walk, ride or drive through flood waters, as this is the main cause of death and injury during floods.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT