Australian prime minister pledges help for Queensland

Prime Minister Julia Gillard pledged financial support for Australia’s flood-hit north-east on Saturday during a tour of the most heavily inundated parts of Queensland state amid forecasts of more rain.

Run-off from a Christmas deluge that left an area the size of France and Germany combined under water is still swelling some rivers, while in other flooded areas water levels are subsiding more slowly than predicted.

The floods have swamped coal mines and hit agriculture hard, washed away roads and railways, and brought the country’s $50-billion coal export industry to a near standstill.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday in the flooded town of St George, 450km west of the state capital Brisbane, Gillard said Aus$4-million in emergency payments had already been paid and more was on the way to help “families who are doing it tough”.

As children rode scooters along the edge of floodwaters nearby, Gillard said she had met relief officials and discussed how to tackle the massive reconstruction task that will come when the waters finally recede.

“There are hundreds of millions more dollars that are going to be required to help Queensland through and help with the rebuilding,” she said, pledging to work with state Premier Anna Bligh.

Fourth death
On Saturday a fourth person was confirmed dead in the latest flooding, a 55-year-old truck driver whose truck veered off a road while transporting water to the inundated town of Condamine.

Thousands have been evacuated from their homes, and in many towns people have taken to getting around the streets in boats. Authorities say around 200 000 people have been affected.

Flood warnings were still in place on Saturday for more than 10 rivers in Queensland. Up to 200mm of rain was forecast in some areas over the weekend, but forecasters said the worst would likely spare the areas most heavily affected by the floods.

The man tasked with overseeing the recovery, Major General Mick Slater, has warned it is likely to take years. While travelling with Gillard on Saturday, he said the crisis was “not over yet” and proper assessments could not even begin until the water levels fell.

The scale of the disaster has prompted fears of disease in the largely tropical areas affected. Earlier this week a military helicopter flew a water purification plant to the inland town of Theodore, one of the first affected, to provide drinking water there.

On Saturday the Fitzroy River in the town of Rockhampton, 600km north of Brisbane, was still at 9,15m, several days after it peaked at 9,2m, and is predicted to stay above 8,5m until around Friday.

The massive damage has prompted calls for dams to be built as a way of controlling the water’s flow and for the creation of a flood-safe transport corridor, after the floods cut the major northern transport link along the state’s east coast. – Reuters

Staff Reporter
Guest Author
Advertisting

Mabuza’s ‘distant relative’ scored big

Eskom’s woes are often because of boiler problems at its power plants. R50-billion has been set aside to fix them, but some of the contracts are going to questionable entities

ANC faction gunning for Gordhan

The ambush will take place at an NEC meeting about Eskom. But the real target is Cyril Ramaphosa

Despite tweet, Zuma keeps silent about providing his taxpayer information

The Public Protector has still not received confirmation from former president Jacob Zuma that she may access his tax records —...

Ahead of WEF, Mboweni will have to assure investors that...

The finance minister says despite the difficult fiscal environment, structural reforms are under way to put SA on a new growth path
Advertising

Press Releases

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.

Innovate4AMR now in second year

SA's Team pill-Alert aims to tackle antimicrobial resistance by implementing their strategic intervention that ensures patients comply with treatment.

Medical students present solution in Geneva

Kapil Narain and Mohamed Hoosen Suleman were selected to present their strategic intervention to tackle antimicrobial resistance to an international panel of experts.