Queensland flood toll to expected to rise "dramatically"

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Canberra, Jan 11 (ANI): Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has said the death toll from floods in the state might rise "quite dramatically" as rising waters and continuing heavy rain continue to hamper rescue efforts.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Bligh's warning came after eight people were confirmed dead and 72 people were reported missing.

"We're hoping and praying that many of those 72 people have gone to safety overnight and will be found safe and well. But given the circumstances we hold very grave concerns for many of those people," Bligh said.

"Many of the people who are stranded or unaccounted for are families and young children and some of those who have lost their lives overnight are young children, including a mother and two children in a vehicle," she added.

The flooding has taken on a new dimension after flooding ravaged the state's south east late Monday, pushing flood waters towards the major city of Brisbane.

Meanwhile, about 200 people have reportedly been evacuated from Forest Hill and Laidley, near Toowoomba. An emergency alert has been issued for flash flooding in the areas, warning residents of rapidly rising water levels and property inundation, posing an immediate danger to residents.

The paper quoted Toowoomba Mayor, Peter Taylor, as saying that there had been "unbelievable damage" to the city.

"It's a real disaster scene where I'm standing at the moment in Russell Street, Toowoomba. There's furniture and furnishings and it's just blown shops away. We have a railway line about 60 or 70 metres suspended in midair and two cars that are virtually unrecognisable that have floated and smashed into the rail," he added.

Queensland has been hit by the worst flooding in decades due to continuing rains since late November 2010, and about 200,00 people are said to have been affected so far. (ANI)

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