Accessibility links

Australian Towns in Flood Path Still at Risk

Swollen rivers continue to threaten small towns and rural communities in Australia's eastern state of Victoria, which is experiencing record flooding.

State Emergency Service spokesman Lachlan Quick told VOA Monday that water from four rivers has poured into the Murray River, Australia's longest river, flooding houses and crop fields along the way. He said the state of Victoria is experiencing its worst flooding in 130 years.

Quick said that thanks to the huge volunteer effort in preparing for the disaster, there have been no deaths or major injuries. But he said 80 towns have been swamped, and about 5,000 people have been directly affected by the floods.

Listen to Ira Mellman's interview with Victoria State Emergency Service spokesman Lachlan Quick

He said there will be significant economic loss from destroyed grain fields and livestock. The floods have hit Australia in the middle of its harvest season and some crops have not yet been harvested.

Officials say the flood threat in Victoria is likely to continue for some time.

Victoria was devastated by wildfires only two years ago.

Earlier this month, the floods moved to Victoria from the state of Queensland, where they killed about 30 people, destroyed or damaged about 30,000 homes and devastated the coal mining industry.

Queensland Treasurer Wayne Swan said Sunday that Australia faces an enormous economic impact from the flooding in his state.

He said Queensland's rapid development means that the deluge is having a much greater impact on the national economy than floods which hit the state in 1974 and other natural disasters in the country.

He said coal exports will be one of the biggest casualties.

Queensland produces most of the coking coal used in Australia's steel industry.