Floods force evacuation of Australian towns and mines
Military helicopters dotted the sky over towns in Queensland State today as flooding jeopardized everyday life. According to emergency authorities, thousands of people have already been evacuated and thousands more have been isolated.
Four coal mines operated by Whitehaven Coal were closed as a precautionary measure, but so far no serious damage has been recorded.
The heavy rain fall puts citizens in mind of last year’s disastrous flooding in Eastern Australia, which led to billions in damages. Authorities seem better prepared for this crisis, with evacuation efforts running quickly and smoothly so far.
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The Australian economy is still reeling from last year’s crisis, which caused catastrophic damage to infrastructure ranging from crops to railways. Coal mines were some of the worst hit, with dramatic loss of revenue and rising coal prices on the global market. Worse yet, 30,000 homes were swamped and 35 people killed.
So far, Australians shouldn’t expect a repeat of 2011’s brutal weather – but for many, it’s already been a trial. The town of Moree has been cut in half by flooding, and 300 evacuees in the outback town of Roma are facing a second evacuation to higher ground.
Peter Birch, a cotton farmer who lives near Moree, told interviewers that he's been trapped on the second floor of his home since the flooding began.
"We woke up this morning with wallabies, kangaroos, an echidna and a koala sitting in the trees," he said. "So I think everything is headed to any little bit of high ground they can."