Floods swamp cyclone-hit areas of Australia

Queensland has been hit by natural disasters in the past two months.

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2011, 12:43 PM IST

Brisbane: Torrential rains flooded homes and isolated towns in eastern Australia on Thursday that were still struggling to recover from a monster cyclone that ravaged the area last month.

Towns littered with the mangled remains of buildings decimated by Cyclone Yasi were thigh-deep in flood water spawned by storms that have dumped up to 241 millimetres (more than nine inches) of rain on far north Queensland state since Wednesday.

"It`s pretty devastating because just when you think you might be getting ahead, you find yourself another two steps behind," said pensioner Rita Porter, who lives in the disaster-battered town of Cardwell.

Cardwell was cut off by the rising waters and was beginning to run out of basic food supplies, residents said, as forecasters warned worse was to come with more rainfall and possible flash flooding on Thursday and Friday.

"Today and tomorrow will be the worst for those townships," senior forecaster Bryan Rolstone told the AAP news agency, warning that conditions would deteriorate for residents before they improved.

"Because the catchment is saturated, flooding is very easy and when we have heavy rain, flooding is more likely."

Queensland has been hit by wave after wave of natural disaster in the past two months.

Dramatic flash flooding shattered homes and swept away cars near the state capital Brisbane in January, killing around 30 people, and widespread flooding wrought havoc in the southeast of the state, drowning parts of Brisbane.

Top-strength Cyclone Yasi then ripped through the north of the state in early February, causing widespread damage in towns including Cardwell, Mission Beach and Tully, but miraculously claiming no lives.

Now some residents face clearing mud and debris from their homes again, with the monsoon rains showing no signs of abating. At least 20 homes were flooded in Cardwell while the main road leading to the town was closed.

"Some (residents) got out of the cyclone to be hit with floods," said newsagent Richard Doran in Cardwell, adding that six locals had been forced by the "cruel situation" to sleep in an evacuation centre on Wednesday night.

"It`s pretty dismal again, still raining -- just steady all night, the gutters are full," he told public broadcaster ABC.

Bureau Report