The New York Times: Churning floodwaters continued to rise across a vast swath of northeastern Australia on Tuesday as authorities worked to grapple with the multibillion dollar economic toll from record inundations that have killed at least nine people. Click here for larger picture.Rain predicted for Wednesday is expected to worsen flooding that has struck an area of the state of Queensland larger than France and Germany combined, said Jimmy Stuart, a senior hydrologist at the state branch of the Bureau of Meteorology. At least 200,000 people have been affected since heavy rains and floods struck in late December.
Queensland’s government is expected to hold an emergency cabinet meeting on Wednesday to come up with a strategy to deal with the cost of the disaster to the sprawling tropical state’s agricultural and mining sectors, said Kimberley Gardiner, a spokeswoman for the state premier, Anna Bligh. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pledged assistance to flood victims.
“To be frank there aren’t many industries that haven’t been affected in Queensland,” Ms. Bligh’s spokeswoman said. State authorities and private aircraft had been carrying out air drops of feed to livestock stranded in flooded fields, she said.
Of particular concern is damage to fruit crops and cotton, which supply both the domestic and export market, and Queensland’s production of coking coal, which is used in the production of steel. Queensland produces just under half the world’s supply of the commodity. Read more at The NY Times.…..