9 Dec 2010

Australian states brace for more flooding

10:45 pm on 9 December 2010

Thirty-five council areas in New South Wales have been declared disaster zones on Thursday night and other regions are bracing for more flooding.

Queanbeyan, near Canberra, has experienced its worst floods in decades. Residents say the floodwaters rose so fast, it was impossible to salvage much at all.

The Queanbeyan River runs through the centre of town and the city was split in two by the floods and the main bridge was cut off, the ABC reports.

Businesses and some homes in the centre of town were affected, while parks and cars were submerged.

About 100 people were evacuated and a pregnant woman had to be rescued by a helicopter after becoming stranded.

A crane was used to lift out threatened caravans from a riverside park.

The river level has fallen from its peak of 8.4 metres to under 7.5 metres on Thursday night.

Emergency service volunteers, fire-fighters and army reservists are all pitching in as part of a massive relief and clean-up effort.

Victoria on alert

In Victoria, communities across the state's north-east remain on flood alert as river levels are expected to peak by Friday evening. There is also concern abour river levels in the west.

Rivers around Benalla, Myrtleford and Wangaratta are expected to peak in the next 24 hours and floodwaters are likely to reach Shepparton by Saturday.

Although the heavy rain has cleared from most areas, there are still major flood warnings in place for the King, Ovens and Buffalo rivers.

There has been some flooding to local properties and it is possible farms in low-lying areas will be cut off.