Australia flood victims can't go home

02:48, Jan 31 2013
NSW flooding
The usually tranquil Wategos Beach in the wake of Cyclone Oswald.
NSW flooding
The town of Bellingen was cut in half following torrential rain with the Lavenders Bridge covered in flood waters.
NSW flooding
Chickens are recovered in Brisbane.
NSW flooding
The town of Bellingen was cut in half following torrential rain with the Lavenders Bridge covered in flood waters.
NSW flooding
Debris goes down the Brisbane River.
NSW flooding
Greg Thistleton stands near a fallen tree in Brisbane where a young child was killed when the tree fell on him and his mother.
NSW flooding
Flood waters sweep through Ipswich.
NSW flooding
The Brisbane river seen from Mowbray Park.
NSW flooding
A Swift Water Rescue officer saves a young boy in Rockhampton.
NSW flooding
Riverside restaurants in Brisbane are bagged in preparation for the flood peak.
NSW flooding
The storms caused huge waves at Bronte Beach in Sdyney.
NSW flooding
Coogee Beach, Sydney, on Tuesday morning.
NSW flooding
Sydney being lashed with rain after cyclone Oswald headed south from Queensland.
Australian floods
A stranded boat in Redcliffe.
Australian floods
The flooded Mt Lindsay Highway at Jimboomba, Queensland.
Australian floods
Patients evacuated from Bundaberg Hospital wait to board Hercules running airlifts to Brisbane.
Australian floods
Bargara, east of Bundaberg, was slammed by a vicious storm, uprooting trees, downing powerlines and ripping roofs off houses.
Australian floods
Flood waters take over Bundaberg.
Australian floods
Water covers the bike path on the South Bank, Brisbane.
Australian floods
Flood warning ... sightseers gather at the Prince Street wharf in Grafton where official readings are taken.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
US astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted this image from space of flood waters heading into the Coral Sea near Rockhampton.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
State Emergency Service patrol the streets on boat as parts of southern Queensland experiences record flooding.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
These cows went to extreme lengths to keep dry as the floods came in at Pine Creek, east of Bundaberg.
A resident looks on at a neighbourhood in Bundaberg during record flooding in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Oswald.
The Queensland city of Bundaberg seen from the air.
The site of the damage in Bundaberg proves too much for this local.
The sun rises over flooded the Burnett river in Bundaberg.
This sign was put up in East Bundaberg after reports of looters.
Much of Bundaberg was left underwater after the storms.
Tackling the clean up in Bundaberg.
Residents collect belongings from their homes as the flood waters recede in Bundaberg.
The flood waters peaked at 9.53 metres in Bundaberg but have now begun receding, meaning locals residents and relief teams can start the clean-up.
Some of the debris swept into the streets by the floods.

Thousands of people in the Queensland city worst-hit by Australia's devastating floods have been told they can't return home, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard prepares to announce disaster relief funding for the city.

Bundaberg has been under water for days after Cyclone Oswald swept over the state and neighbouring New South Wales, bringing floods, heavy rain and damaging winds.

The death toll for the floods has risen to six, with the discovery of the body of a second farm worker missing west of Brisbane since Sunday, while water police are still searching for a fisherman missing near Rockhampton since Thursday

An exclusion zone has been set up in the suburb of North Bundaberg until all homes are checked and declared safe, and Mark Jackson from the district disaster group has asked the 7000 people who live in the area to comply.

"We've got police in here to enforce that," he told ABC radio.

"We don't know what the situation is there, but we do know there is a high extent of damage there. It is not a safe place to be and we're expecting people's co-operation."

Meanwhile, soldiers have been sent to help with the clean up at Gayndah and Mundubbera, west of Bundaberg.

North Burnett Mayor Don Waugh flew over Mundubbera and said the damage was worse than originally thought.

"We thought at first it was 60 houses that were inundated," he told ABC radio.

"The last count was well over a hundred. From the air the devastation is so very obvious."

A water shortage crisis has been averted in Brisbane, with restrictions set to be lifted across the region tonight.

The city was at risk of losing tap water after silt from the Lockyer Valley floods west of Brisbane forced the closure of its main treatment plant at Mount Crosby.

In New South Wales no further evacuations were ordered overnight and the State Emergency Service has shifted its focus to re-supplying isolated communities, like Yamba and Iluka at the mouth of the Clarence River, with food and medicine.

More than 1000 flood evacuees were expected to return home over the next few days while about 23,000 people remain isolated.

"There will need to be some assessments made once the water levels drop just to make sure it's safe for them to return," an SES spokesman said.

More than 4000 calls for assistance were received by the SES since the deluge brought by Oswald began.

- Brisbane Times and AAP

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