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More than 8,000 people have fled their homes in Wagga Wagga in New South Wales fearing that the town's levee would fail.
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2012 08:03
Emergency services have ordered more than 8,000 people to evacuate a New South Wales town, in southeast Australia, threatened by rising floodwaters.
New South Wales emergency officials and police ordered thousands to evacuate the centre of the town of Wagga Wagga on Tuesday as the Murrumbidgee river threatened to breach the town's levee barriers.
People had already been ordered to evacuate homes in the surrounding area after the river burst its banks in places.
On Sunday, about 13,000 people around New South Wales were also asked to leave their homes due to the flooding.
Floods hit three eastern states this week, sweeping two men to their deaths after they attempted to cross waterways in cars.
The rising rain waters inundated more than 250 properties and isolated a number of rural communities causing millions of dollars in damage.
Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, said earlier that the military had been deployed to several areas and was on standby to help other stricken towns if the crisis deepened.
Across the state more than 13,000 people have been ordered from their homes because of flooding [EPA]
"We've got floodwaters across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria," she told reporters.
"For the people of Wagga particularly, this is a very anxious time."
"There is a significant risk that the levee will overtop or potentially breach," said Andrew Richards, the New South Wales State Emergency Service (SES) spokesperson.
"The reports we are getting from Wagga are that a significant number of homes in that area have been affected," Richards told the AFP news agency as the river rushed towards a level not seen since 1844.
The Great Flood of 1844 is the biggest flood ever recorded on the Missouri River and Upper Mississippi River, in North America, in terms of discharge.
The impact was not as great as subsequent floods because of the small population in the region at the time. The flood devastation was particularly widespread since the region had little or no levees at the time, so the waters were able to spread far from the normal banks.
Among the hardest hit were the Wyandot Indians who lost 100 people in the diseases that occurred after the flood in the vicinity of today's Kansas City, Kansas — the Wyandot were a people formed from the war and disease depopulated elements of the once mighty Huron Confederacy and the Petun Indian tribes who had migrated south and west.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed condolences for the loss of life in floods in Australia and says Washington is prepared to provide assistance to its close ally.
Up to 200,000 people are estimated to have been hit by the fast-flowing waters that have inundated 22 rural towns in the country's northeast, across an area the size of NSW.
Originally posted by Biigs
So there wasnt a huge flood just almost a really bad one?
Only news i can find www.dailytelegraph.com.au... says that escaped any major disaster.
But the focus for emergency services now turns to neighbouring Riverina communities, with hundreds of people evacuated from homes in Griffith, North Yenda and Beelbangera on Wednesday morning.
DEADLY floods in Australia's third-biggest city were peaking below the worst levels Brisbane had feared, police said, although swollen rivers will still cause fresh destruction.
"The Brisbane river has now reached its peak," police said, as an official weather bureau flood gauge in the centre of the city of two million showed a depth 4.45 metres.
That was below earlier expected highs of above 5 metres and less than a peak in 1974 which caused massive damage.
The city's mayor said the number of homes threatened by the raging flood waters had risen to 32,000.
Mayor Cambell Newman was speaking as he opened more evacuation centres for victims.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the number of people missing in the floods had fallen from 51 to 43, but that the official death toll remained at 12, with grave fears for nine of the missing.
She added: "We are bracing for a massive amount of water coming into this river system and it will flood thousands of properties." She said the rebuild will be of "post-war proportions".
More deaths feared in Australia floods
Thousands told to evacuate Sydney
1 600 evacuated in Australia
Corals clone in bad weather
Sydney - The death toll from flooding in Australia's south-east could rise to three after a car with two men inside was washed off a highway in south-east Queensland.
Thousands of families are in evacuation centres after some of the biggest downpours since the 1920s turned rivers into raging torrents.
The rain overwhelmed water storage systems with reservoirs in Sydney and Canberra brim-full and overflowing for the first time in decades.