Parts of Brisbane look like a “war zone” according to Queensland’s state premier Anna Bligh, as the clear-up operation gets underway after Australia’s worst flooding in decades.
It is a filthy, stinking task as water was contaminated with sewage spilt from damaged treatment plants upstream.
It has not stopped volunteers coming to help others: “(I’m) very thankful that I’m not in the same situation, and I want to do as much as we can to help these people that have suffered,” said one man. “This happened in 1974, same thing, mud everywhere. A lot of people here, their houses are not insured, because the insurance companies won’t allow them to insure against flood, so they lose everything.“
Parents have been told not to let children play in floodwater; snakes have been spotted amid the contamination.
Although the water in some parts of the city has receded, other areas are still submerged and people are being evacuated.
Our correspondent in Brisbane, Rita Del Prete, said: “The water level has dropped a few metres. Some displaced people have returned home. There’s a great spirit of solidarity; volunteers and neighbours all striving to free the streets and houses from the grip of the mud.”