Floods continue to rattle northeast Aus; waters enter Brisbane

Natasha Chaku

Melbourne, Jan 12 (PTI) Floodwaters entered thelow-lying areas of Australia''s third-largest city today as theBrisbane river breached its banks, forcing thousands in theQueensland capital to flee their homes in the midst of franticrescue efforts.

Up to 30 people are believed to have died inQueensland state since floods swept northeast of Australia.

The waters today reached the province''s capitalBrisbane and Mayor Campbell Newman warned that over 20,000buildings are likely to go under water.

He said new flood modelling indicated that anestimated 19,700 residential properties and 3500 commercialpremises were likely to be flooded in the city as the BrisbaneRiver burst its banks and inundated suburbs, includingJindalee, Toowong and Yeronga.

As the country witnessed the worst flood crisis in acentury, the number of missing people has been scaled down to67 from 90 after many were found during frantic rescueefforts, state Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said.

"I just want to stress that that number will moveupwards and downwards over the coming days as police getreports and either confirm or otherwise the existence orwhereabouts of individuals," Roberts said.

"So we still do have grave concerns for a significantnumber of people and search and rescue operations willobviously be continuing in the Lockyer Valley area," he said.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Indian Students inAustralia, a body representing Indian students, asked Indiansacross the country to rally support for the flood-hit peopleof Queensland, including thousands from the community.

A large number of Indians are believed to have beenaffected by the Queensland flooding. It is believed that over10,000 students are currently enrolled in Central QueenslandUniversity (CQU).

FISA spokesperson Gautam Gupta expressed concern overthe current flood crisis which he said was prompting manyfamilies in India to call and inquire about their loved onesstudying in the state universities and other institutions.

"We are concerned that amongst the thousands ofvictims of this tragedy, there are a number of Indianstudents. These students will be doing very tough and ourhearts go out to them and their loved ones," he said.

Authorities were now planning for a Brisbane Riverpeak not experienced since 1893 with a peak of 5.5 metres onthe high tides about 4 am and 4 pm tomorrow.

Brisbane residents have been warned complete suburbscould go under, as floodwaters begin to inundate riversidehomes. .

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