The devastating floodwaters across the Australian state of Queensland – which now cover an area the size of France and Germany combined – might not recede for weeks, according to the state’s Premier Anna Bligh. Authorities have confirmed three deaths due to the flooding, and they say the floodwaters have displaced 200,000 more, cutting off 20 towns.
This raw footage from the Associated Press (uploaded to YouTube on December 30, 2010) gives you some idea of what’s going on. At the time the video was taken, Queensland, which is in eastern Australia, had been covered in floodwaters for more than a week.
As 2011 opens, people in Queensland are being ordered by police to leave their homes, according to this BBC report. Police are reported to be wading through floodwaters in suburbs, chest-deep in water, telling people to leave. Many people are reluctant to leave, because they are concerned about reports of small-scale looting and worried by the possibility their homes might be robbed.
The cleanup bill for flooded communities across eastern Australia might hit billions of Australian dollars, a state official said on December 30, 2010.
A few years ago, I was writing about severe drought in Australia. Now floods. Australia – which, before European settlement in the late 18th century had been inhabited for the previous 40,000 years only by indigenous Australians – looks like a tough place to live.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.