Floods to hit Brisbane
Up to 20 000 homes are now at risk in Brisbane, the Queensland state premier has said, as deadly floodwaters surge towards Australia’s third city.
Central Brisbane was a ghost town, with electricity cut and thousands urged to either evacuate or stay at home.
West of Brisbane, the city of Ipswich is set to reach a flood peak of 22m in the next few hours, in a situation described as “total chaos”.
Rescuers are preparing for a “gruesome” day searching for victims elsewhere.
The death toll from flash floods in Queensland is so far ten, but state Premier Anna Bligh told Australian television that the number of people missing west of Brisbane in the Lockyer Valley had risen.
“The police now are searching for more than 90 people,” she said. “These are people who their families can no longer contact or find.”
She added: “The one good news is the rain has cleared, so we’ve now got a number of search and rescue teams all ready to deploy into the valley to really start what might be a very gruesome search this morning for bodies and our police and emergency workers there are going to have a very tough day.
“I think we will all be shocked by what they will find.”
The central business district in Brisbane was almost totally deserted, hit by a power cut that was intended to prevent generators becoming a fire risk if flooded.
The Brisbane Courier Mail said the Brisbane River had burst its banks at Yeerongpilly and Indooroopilly, flooding streets. The paper quoted city council flood modelling as predicting that 40,000 properties would be affected.
More than 6,500 Brisbane residents are expected to take refuge in three evacuation centres. (BBC)