n18
NEWS|Current Affairs 
   |
Photo: AP

Rescuers helped drivers escape swift floodwaters and used helicopters to pluck stranded people from rooftops in northeast Australia on Tuesday after torrential rains flooded thousands of homes and businesses, killed four and forced thousands to huddle in shelters.

Floodwaters peaked in most of the worst-hit areas by evening. Some communities that were initially expected to be inundated appeared to have escaped major damage, with levees holding back the muddy water in one city that was in the high danger zone. But officials were still urging caution, as fast-moving floodwaters in New South Wales prompted 50 rescues, most involving drivers stuck in cars swept away by the current.

In the hardest-hit city of Bundaberg in Queensland, 385 kilometers (240 miles) north of Brisbane, rescue crews plucked 1,000 people to safety after the river that runs through town broke its banks, sending murky water pouring into streets and homes. Several people had to be rescued from the roofs of their waterlogged houses, while hospital patients were airlifted to Brisbane as a precaution.

"Listen to the roar of the water — that's not helicopters," Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said. "You see a lot of locations where there are literally sort of rapids. There's white water out there, so it is very dangerous."

Between 2,500 and 3,000 homes and 200 to 300 businesses were inundated with water, Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said. Around 1,500 residents were hunkered down in evacuation centers as they waited for the waters to recede.

Queensland residents and officials were being particularly cautious, after floodwaters from heavy rain in late 2010 and early 2011 left much of the state under water in the worst flooding Australia had seen in decades. The 2010-2011 floods killed 35 people, damaged or destroyed 30,000 homes and businesses and left Brisbane, Australia's third-largest city, under water for days.

The current flood crisis was not as severe, though some areas in northern New South Wales were hit by more than half a meter (about 20 inches) of rain, State Emergency Services Deputy Commissioner Steve Pearce said. Four people have died, including a 3-year-old boy who was hit by a falling tree in Brisbane.

In the New South Wales city of Grafton, 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Sydney, the river peaked just below the top of the levee wall, prompting relief among officials who had ordered an evacuation affecting 2,500 residents.

"It does appear as though the worst of it is over," New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell said.

The flooding was caused by the remnants of a tropical cyclone that sparked tornadoes and created sea foam that came ashore on the Queensland coast. The foam covered roads in places, causing traffic to be diverted. Elsewhere, beach-goers waded into the bubbles to pose for photographs. The storm system was moving offshore Tuesday evening.

Australia has been suffering through a summer of weather extremes, with blistering temperatures and dry conditions igniting hundreds of wildfires across the southern half of the country.

BJP pulls up Giriraj Singh for comments on Modi critics

from firstpost

BJP pulls up Giriraj Singh for comments on Modi critics

New Delhi: BJP today distanced itself fromits Bihar leader Giriraj Singh's 'back Narendra Modi or go toPakistan' remark with the party saying that he has beenconveyed the "displeasure" of th...


41 killed in Pakistan bus accident

from firstpost

41 killed in Pakistan bus accident

Islamabad: At least 41 people were killed and many others were injured when a passenger bus hit a truck-trailer in Pakistan's south Sukkur district.The accident took place near Pano Akil town of the S...

Eight months after murder, police fail to arrest Dabholkar's killers

from firstpost

Eight months after murder, police fail to arrest Dabholkar's killers

Pune (Maharashtra): The sensational murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar is yet to be solved eight months after he was was gunned down while on a morning walk here, creating a nationwide furore.Tw...

Prosecutors extend Korea ferry captain's detention as death toll mounts

from firstpost

Prosecutors extend Korea ferry captain's detention as death toll mounts

JINDO/MOKPO South Korea (Reuters) - South Korean prosecutors investigating a ferry disaster said on Sunday they would seek to extend the detention of the ship's captain and two other crew by 10 days a...

Syria frees abducted French journalists after 10 months

from firstpost

Syria frees abducted French journalists after 10 months

London: Four French journalists kidnapped in Syria almost a year ago have been freed, French President Francois Hollande said Saturday.Edouard Elias, Didier Franois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres we...

17 people detained in UP for illegal entry into India

from firstpost

17 people detained in UP for illegal entry into India

Maharajganj, UP: Seventeen persons, including three women and 10 children, from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) were detained for illegally crossing into India from Nepal through Sonouli border, SSB s...

Three teens gunned down in Ranchi

from firstpost

Three teens gunned down in Ranchi

Ranchi: Suspected Maoist guerrillas have shot dead three teenagers on the outskirts of Ranchi, police said Saturday.According to police, the guerrillas killed the three, aged between 15 and 17, at Mas...