My home is Australia, and I woke up this morning to hear that 8 people were dead and another 72 currently missing, with the death toll expected to rise, as floodwaters sweep through the north of our country.
“There’s no doubt that we are now in a very different sort of disaster,” said Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, at a press conference Tuesday.
We are currently awaiting floodwaters to peak at 19 metres. Already 9,000 homes have been inundated; many ripped off their bearings and carried down the raging river of water. Cars have been tossed around like toys, and people have been caught unawares, forced to seek refuge on the roofs of houses, businesses; anything that was above the rising waterline.
And all of this can be laid at the feet of one of the strongest La Niña events in the Pacific Ocean in the past 50 years. (It is important to note that one key result of global warming and of global dimming is more moisture in the air — these could very well be contributing to these strong floods.)
North Australia, the state of Queensland, has been suffering increased rainfall which has not only wiped out peoples livelihood – farms that for the first time in a decade and more were going to produce a bumper crop, now gone – but people’s lives as well.
The rain has been falling in increasingly large amounts since late December, and Anna Bligh, Queensland’s premiere, has said that “This is our darkest hour of the past fortnight.”
NASA images show that the flooding has inundated an area the size of Germany and France combined. The image above shows flooding ripping through the city of Rockhampton in Queensland, which has a population of 75,000 people.
Image Source: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team