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Old 28-01-13, 23:12   #1
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Important VIDEOS-Death Toll Rises in Australia- Flooding Increases

Bundaberg Homes 'Could be Washed off Their Stumps'

29 January 29, 2013 Source: AAP/ ONE News with Steve Marshall in Ipswich

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says homes in north Bundaberg could be washed off their stumps by the force of floodwaters and has urged any remaining residents to get out.

The deadly flood crisis is escalating across southern Queensland and New South Wales, as Brisbane and Bundaberg brace for river peaks.

The disaster has claimed four lives in Queensland. A three-year-old boy died of his injuries after he and his mother were crushed by a tree in Brisbane's north yesterday.

Newman will visit Bundaberg today.

Bundaberg's Burnett River has hit a record-breaking 9.3 metres and is expected to peak tonight. Two thousand properties have been flooded and mandatory evacuations are continuing in the city's northern suburbs.

Overnight, 14 helicopters rescued more than a thousand people in the city's north.

"Black Hawks were operating to midnight, using night vision equipment," Newman told Sky News.

"There may still be people in there and we have to get them out."

The immediate focus was to rescue people stranded on islands created by floodwaters moving at more than 70km/h.

"We are concerned about houses being lifted off their stumps and swept away," the premier said.

"People cannot stay in north Bundaberg."

Newman urged people to try to make contact with authorities or get up on their roofs so they could be seen.

He thanked emergency crews, council workers and helicopter pilots.

Brisbane Braces

Newman welcomed a lower than expected flood peak in Ipswich overnight.

"That bodes well for the predicted flood peak today in Brisbane, which is meant to happen before midday [before 3pm NZT] at 2.6 metres," he said.

"I'm just speculating here, but we might see a flood level no greater than that."

Newman said there was a feeling of "tired resignation" among people evacuated from this year's floods who had also been flood victims in 2011.

"I know the people here have a lot of guts and don't give up," he said.

While Brisbane is braced for a flood peak on the high tide today, it will be nothing like what the city saw during its 2011 flood disaster.

There has already been flooding in some low-lying suburbs and that was expected to worsen as the morning rolled on.

But Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk says it'll be business as usual in the CBD, and people can show up for work, with the river expected to peak two metres below the 2011 level.

"The city will be open for business," he told ABC radio.

Brisbane will also see a flood peak on the high tide tomorrow.

A Brisbane City Council spokesman told AAP that forecasts of up to 3600 homes and 1250 businesses having some impact from the floods still stood.

However, that could be revised down if the Bureau of Meteorology revised its flood peak data.

Australia correspondent Steve Marshall told TV ONE's Breakfast a disaster situation has been declared for Brisbane and people are being urged to evacuate low lying areas.

They are being urged to take their own bedding, food and medication to centres set up just outside the CBD, he said.

Reporting from Ipswich, west of Brisbane, Marshall said he watched nervously with locals last night as the river crept higher there, "but it looks like they've dodged a bullet at this stage".

Marshall said "the silver lining" is that the Wivenhoe Dam, west of Brisbane, has been gradually releasing water over the past few days which means there won't be a repeat of the "tsunami-like torrents" seen in 2011 that washed cars down streets and almost swept away houses.

He said: "Everyone's on high alert and this disaster will last for the next couple of days in terms of how high this river gets."

Grafton told to Prepare for Flooding

More than 1500 people around Grafton in northern NSW have been ordered to evacuate their homes amid fears that river peaks may cause record flooding and inundate properties.

NSW State Emergency Service (SES) spokesman Phil Campbell said the Clarence River was expected to peak near eight metres around midday (2pm NZT) today, which could cause record flooding in the region.

"The effect of that flooding is likely the significant inundation downstream of rural properties," Campbell told AAP today.

In Grafton's south, people have also been warned of the likelihood of evacuation, with properties close to the river's levee told to prepare to leave.

Warwick Flood Lower than Expected

Meanwhile, the mayor of Warwick, southwest of Brisbane, is hoping no home or businesses got water above the floorboards from Monday's flood peak.

The Condamine River reached 7.45m, about half a metre lower than predicted.

Mayor Peter Blundell said the revised peak would have saved about 60 homes and businesses from having water above their floorboards.

"It was great relief," he told AAP.

Up to 40 properties would have still had some form of water inundation, he said.

"How many had water into their living areas, we're not sure," he said.

Blundell said a lot of parks and infrastructure have had water through them and council has a big clean-up ahead.

The Department of Transport will be assessing roads and bridges and Blundell urged locals to stay off the roads.

NSW South told to Brace for 100km Winds

Southern NSW is being told to prepare for driving rain and 100km winds as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald sparks evacuations in the state's north and continues to isolate more than 2000 others and devastate Queensland.

As the impact of the massive storm spreads from Queensland, more than 1500 people have been told to evacuate their homes in Lismore, Ulmarra, Cowper and Brushgrove in northern NSW with warnings of flooding as rivers peak throughout Tuesday.

The NSW State Emergency Service says the focus will be on the south of the state today, with a severe weather warning issued for Sydney, the Hunter and Central Coast, Illawarra and the south coast and parts of the Central Tablelands.

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