Australia floods: Two dead, four missing; no respite as water still rising

Flood sirens were heard in several towns and people climbed on roofs to wait for rescue.

Australia flood
A local resident watches as floodwaters enter the main street of northern New South Wales town of Lismore, Australia. Reuters

Two people have been killed, four people were missing and thousands are stranded in Australia after a severe flood following torrential rains, brought in by powerful tropical cyclone, Debbie, battered the region. Moreover, daily life has come to a complete standstill as citizens are being evacuated and others are reeling under severe power cut conditions.

Rivers, mostly in the disaster zone from Debbie, have swelled up and flooded their banks. Queensland police urged people around the Logan River, which runs through Beenleigh south of Brisbane, to be careful as the river would hit peak flood levels for several more hours. According to Channel News Asia, Commissioner Ian Stewart warned there was "still a major risk to the community around Logan and further south caused by that flooding situation."

Meanwhile, Fitzroy River in Rockhampton was expected to suffer flood levels not seen for a century by Wednesday and Stewart urged residents in low-lying areas to leave. "By Wednesday, we will be at peak flooding in Rockhampton...It won't just be on Wednesday, it will be a gradual rise, so I encourage people to move now," he said.

Reuters reported that flood sirens were heard in several towns. People climbed on roofs of flooded homes and were seen waiting for rescue. However, fast-moving water and high winds affected relief operations as it became extremely difficult for emergency crews to reach several areas.

People are not only terrified about rubbish and sewage and raging flood water, they are concerned about snakes, crocodiles and sharks. "Flooded waterways increase the possibilities of crocodiles and other animals, such as snakes turning up in unexpected places," said the state's environment and heritage protection department, as reported.

"In most circumstances, crocodiles will be moving through, trying to get out of fast-flowing creeks and waterways to the quieter areas they prefer...Snakes are good swimmers and they too may turn up in unexpected places and may even find their way into people's properties," it added.

Cyclone Debbie, a category four storm, pummelled northeastern Australia on Tuesday, bringing down power line, ripping off trees and smashing tourist resorts. Moreover, economists believe that the Australian economy of A$1.7 trillion (S$1.8 trillion) will be hard hit and slow growth to under 2 per cent in the first quarter.