Flooding in the tropical city of Rockhampton is expected to peak later today as the Australian state of Queensland continues to battling “biblical” flooding.
The Fitzroy River saw water levels sitting at 9.2 meters above the river bed, with experts expect levels to peak at 9.4 metres later today.
Rockhampton airport is closed following flooding
As a result, Rockhampton’s last remaining link to the outside world is likely to be cut over the next 24 hours, with authorities rushing supplies to the city ahead of the expected flooding.
In other areas of the state residents are beginning the recovery process or preparing for a further deluge. Some 20 towns have been cut off by flood waters, with up to 200,000 people affected.
St George in the south of the state has been hard hit, while residents in Emerald have begun to recover possession after the Nogoa River began to recede.
Just 300 miles from Brisbane, Rockhampton is a hub for the farming and coal-mining region.
The local airport has been closed to aviation traffic as flood waters rise. However, road access to the town is still possible.
Residents have been advised to stay out of the water as fears over snake bites worsen. Waters are expected to stay high for up to two weeks, with sandflies and disease-carrying mosquitoes the expected next threat.
Months of record rainfall in the state have flooded an area the size of France and Germany combined, costing billions of dollars in damages.
Tropical cyclone Tasha has exacerbated the situation, swelling rivers to record levels, washing away bridges and forcing military evacuations of entire towns by helicopter.
Lost activity has hit production at mines in the region estimated to account for 40 per cent of the global trade in coal used in steelmaking.
State treasurer Andrew Fraser said the economic impact of the “biblical” floods would be severe, with huge costs compounded by lost income from mining, farming and tourism.
In response to the deepening crisis the United States government has offered aid food aid to an estimated 200,000 people, with secretary of state Hilary Clint stating America “stands ready to provide assistance”.