Under water: Flooding in Toowoomba.
Under water: Flooding in Toowoomba. Ursula Oberhardt

Qld's flood disaster worsens

QUEENSLAND is drowning in a catastrophic deluge that is threatening Brisbane with its worst flood in more than 35 years.

Nine people had been confirmed dead yesterday afternoon, with 66 people missing in the wake of the startling “inland tsunami” that hit Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley on Monday afternoon.

Brisbane residents are facing a frightening wait, with flood levels expected to exceed the 1974 flood level of 5.45m tomorrow.

At least 6700 homes were flooded during the 1974 disaster and at least 6500 are expected to go under this week, affecting 14,900 people.

The centre of Brisbane, some northern suburbs and other low-lying areas have been evacuated, with 32 suburbs likely to be affected.

One-third of Ipswich is expected to go underwater today when the Bremer River reaches a predicted peak of 22m.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told Queenslanders to prepare for the worst, including a higher death toll.

A young girl died in floodwater at Ipswich yesterday afternoon.

“We are now in a very frightening experience,” Ms Bligh said.

“We are facing one of our toughest ever tests.

“We will only pass this test if we are calm, if we are patient with each other ... and if we listen carefully to the instructions we are being given.

“Now is not a time for panic; now is the time for us to stick together.”

The Wivenhoe catchment area continued to be pummelled by rain yesterday, making the flood’s peak difficult to predict.

Power was cut to hundreds of homes across south-east Queensland, public transport services were cut and roads were closed.

Authorities are focusing on the immediate danger, but the floods are expected to have serious long-term consequences.

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