Australia floodwaters still rising, police search for missing

The storm, now downgraded to a tropical low, tracked over Queensland's central interior before moving southeast and driving squalls towards the state capital, Brisbane, causing flash floods and prompting the government to close more than 2,000 schools.

At the Bremer River near Ipswich the level is now at 9.5m and rising, expected to reach the major flood level of 11m this morning and peak at 14m later this afternoon.

Torrential rain hampered relief efforts Thursday after a powerful cyclone wreaked havoc in northeast Australia, with floods sparking emergency rescues as fed-up tourists began evacuating from resort islands.

Two tanks and a truck, chock full of jerry cans, drove into the north Queensland town on Friday morning to distribute nearly 20,000 litres of water.

"He fell down and it sounded like he was snoring, but he stopped breathing".

"There are still a number of communities subject to evacuation orders and in some instance people have remained in their properties and that's causing us the biggest challenge at the moment", Mark Morrow of the NSW State Emergency Service told Channel 9. "Just mud and debris and concerned people everywhere - people cleaning out their businesses", Naomi Tarrant of Lismore told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "(It's) so inconceivable what's been lost downtown here".

The floods cut roads, destroyed bridges and left more than 100,000 homes without power.

In Queensland where flood levels continue to rise, an unknown number people are awaiting rescue and at least one person is unaccounted for.

Queenslanders are waking up to a huge clean-up after Cyclone Debbie tore through the state.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services shared the photos of the shark on Twitter, warning residents to stay out of the water after the storm.

"Oh, it breaks your heart, really".

"A lot of records are being broken this morning", he told ABC radio.

The Insurance Council of Australia declared the Queensland and northern NSW regions disaster zones, adding that the damage bill could top Aus$1 billion (US $770 million).

"It is going to take months to fix", she told reporters Sunday.

  • Carolyn Briggs