Military flights planed in Monday to deliver relief goods to the Australian city of Rockhampton before it becomes isolated by floodwaters that have converted it into a lake. Continuous rains that fell before Christmas resulted to floodwaters that stretch to an area the size of France and Germany combined leaving rivers overflowing and isolated at least 22 towns and cities.
In Rockhampton, waters from the overflowing Fitzroy River cut off the airport and main highway leading to Brisbane. Thousands of families left their homes and headed for relief centers stationed on higher grounds. Residents hoarded food and bottled water to avoid getting around waist-deep waters.
According to Acting Defense Minister Warren Snowdon, a C-130 is set to fly to a town north of Rockhampton on Monday to bring in food, medical supplies, and other items which would then be transported to the city. Another flight is scheduled to plane in on Tuesday if the highway going to Rockhampton stays open to traffic. The Fitzroy River will continue to rise until late Tuesday or early Wednesday which could further aggravate relief operations.
According to Mayor Brad Carter, 40 percent of the city could feel the impact of surging waters and residents would have to wait a couple of weeks before returning home. State authorities say 200,000 people have already been affected by the floods, Australia’s worst in the last ten years. Prime Minister Julia Gillard offered emergency relief to the affected families, including low-interest loans to farmers to start their clean-up drive and get their business going again.
The cost of the disaster will cost hundreds of millions of dollars and recovery will take some time. Three people have already died since Saturday, but police indicated that seven other people have drowned due to swollen rivers and water accidents since late November. The rains that caused the flooding are gone and water levels have subsided in some towns. However, officials said that it would take at least one month before the floodwaters completely subside.
Want to earn some spare money as a writer for us? Send us an email!