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August 7, 2022
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Australian PM Gillard warns floods expected to rise

USD 4 M has been allocated, but hundreds of millions more are needed for repair. Parts of eastern Australia are forecast to get above-average rainfall until March.

ROCKHAMPTON – While floodwaters in Australia have begun to recede in some areas, the worst could still be on the way for at least one city, the country’s prime minister said Saturday, according to CNN. “Today I’ve been in St. George, and they are still bracing for the peak of the flood,” Julia Gillard told Australia’s Nine Network, according to a transcript from the prime minister’s office. “They’re very well prepared, but of course they’re anxious as they await the peak.”


The seasonal flooding in the state of Queensland intensified last month after monsoon rains caused rivers to spill over their banks and reach record levels. The floodwaters have covered an area the size of France and Germany combined, stretching from Queensland into the neighboring state of New South Wales, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said Saturday. Cabrera said the projected rainfall for parts of the two states is expected to be above average through March.


During a press conference Saturday with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, Gillard said the situation will get tougher for “many, many people” throughout the state of Queensland. She said federal and state officials have made about USD 4 million in emergency payments to individuals and families. “Of course, that is the money in the pocket, money on the ground now, but there are hundreds of millions more dollars that are going to be required to help Queensland through and to help with the rebuilding,” Gillard said. Bligh said she was “very heartened” by Australians helping Queensland residents in need. The premier’s relief appeal has garnered more than USD 20 M, Bligh said.


In Rockhampton – one of the hardest hit cities – the fast-flowing Fitzroy River was slowly receding after peaking earlier this week at about 9.2 meters (about 30 feet). With many major roads under water, some residents surrounded by the deluge used boats to travel. Government officials have warned residents to avoid flooded areas, saying some road infrastructure can be dangerous after being flooded for days. Officials said the degree of damage remained unclear.


GERMANY BRACES ITSELF FOR FLOODING


After weeks of snow and ice, rising temperatures are causing a widespread thaw in Germany. That combined with heavy rain showers means many German rivers have swollen dramatically in the last couple of days. Now a number of regions are bracing themselves for flooding, Deutsche Welle reported. The German Weather Service has issued flood warnings for parts of the western, southern and central states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland Palatinate, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Thuringia.

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