Australians warned of crocodiles in major floods

Wed Feb 4, 2009 2:01pm EST
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By Michael Perry

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australians battling major floods in the tropical state of Queensland have been warned to be on the look out for crocodiles and snakes, after a series of sightings in flooded towns, officials said Wednesday.

Some 17 rivers are in flood and 62 percent or more than 1 million sq kms (386,000 sq miles) of Queensland, Australia's second largest state, has been declared a natural disaster.

Some towns are virtually underwater and others will be isolated for weeks by floodwaters, officials said.

Thousands of homes have been declared flood-affected and the damage bill is around A$110 million ($70 million).

"Unrelenting rain and flooding has battered North Queensland over recent weeks and the Queensland government is working hard to ensure residents are receiving the financial assistance and support they need," Communities Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr said in a statement Wednesday.

The flooding started last December, at one point closing major inland mines, and has continued, fed by a series of rain depressions and a cyclone. A low depression off the coast is currently threatening to form into a cyclone, bringing more rain.


Weather officials said Wednesday that the Gulf of Carpentaria coast, the northeast tropical coast of Queensland and the inland southwest channel country were flooded.   Continued...

<p>A male freshwater crocodile is seen after being weighed and measured by animal expers at Sydney Wildlife World August 13, 2008. REUTERS/Daniel Munoz</p>