Snakes & Crocs Invade Rockhampton

Flooded residents in Queensland have been warned to stay out of the water due to the danger posed by snakes and crocodiles.

The Australian authorities are warning a higher than usual number of snakes have been reported around Rockhampton.

The city’s mayor Brad Carter also reminded residents that saltwater crocodiles have previously been spotted in the Fitzroy River, which has burst its banks.

As well as the local wildlife, strong currents and large amounts of debris are causing concern for locals trying to negotiate the murky inland sea.

Rockhampton is virtually marooned by a brown tide, with the level of the Fitzroy River having reached 30ft above normal. It is expected to peak on January 5.

Around 400 homes are already inundated and several thousand more are at risk.

Across the state of Queensland, 22 towns and cities have now been badly damaged by flooding in recent weeks, with a massive area of the Outback – the size of France and Germany combined – now underwater.

Millions of pounds worth of crops have been destroyed, domestic insurance claims are expected to top £500m, and with three quarters of the state’s coalfields unable to operate, the cost to the mining industry in lost production will be more than double that.

Queensland is estimated to provide half the world’s coking coal, and so an industry knock-on effect is expected worldwide.

Military aircraft have brought in supplies, because Rockhampton’s airport is closed, and only one road into the city remains passable.

There are now real concerns about how the sewage treatment plants will be able to cope.

Mr Carter said action will need to be taken if the pumps and treatment plants cannot operate.

“We will be seeking an approval from the state government to discharge into the river system outside of the town where it should flow through in a highly, highly diluted fashion.”

Across the state, around a thousand people are living in emergency centres because they had to evacuate their homes.

Two hundred thousand Queenslanders are directly affected by the floods, and the rest of Australia will suffer the consequences with prices of fruit and vegetables expected to rise because the state’s farmers have been badly hit.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has expressed her sympathy in a statement on behalf of President Obama.

“I offer my condolences for the loss of life and damage in Queensland caused by the recent flooding,” she said.

“Our embassy in Canberra is monitoring the situation and has been in contact with Australian authorities – Australia is an important partner and close friend of the United States and we stand ready to provide assistance.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these floods, especially the families of the victims, and with all the people of Australia.”

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