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Australian towns fear river peaks

January 16, 2011 09:51 pm | Updated November 17, 2021 03:34 am IST - MELBOURNE:

ROLLING DISASTER: Piles of household goods damaged in the recent flood in Brisbane on Sunday

ROLLING DISASTER: Piles of household goods damaged in the recent flood in Brisbane on Sunday

Dozens of rural Australian communities were sandbagging their properties on Sunday as they nervously watched four river systems rising from heavy rains upstream.

More than 3,500 people have evacuated their homes in north-central Victoria state, where some towns are predicting the worst floods in 100 years.

“In some of our river systems, we are seeing unprecedented stream rises,” said an official. , The flood event was one of Victoria's biggest since records began.

Neil Pankhurst, Mayor of the Murray River port of Echuca, said the town's levee was designed to withstand a one-in-100-year flood, which is dangerously close to what is expected late on Sunday night.

“The levee is designed to contain a flood of the level we're expecting and we believe it will hold,” said Mr. Pankhurst.

He said some low-lying properties were likely to be isolated by floodwaters but most homes would not have water above floor level, he said.

People were watching warily after witnessing the devastation floods have wreaked in Queensland state.

Three weeks of flooding in the northeastern state left a vast territory underwater and caused 28 deaths, most of them from a flash flood that hit towns west of Brisbane on Monday. Fourteen people are still missing.

In Grantham, 70 per cent of the town remained cordoned off while searchers looked for bodies.

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