Flood waters wash through Brisbane, peak lower than feared

Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Tens of thousands of buildings in and around Brisbane were destroyed Thursday as flood waters rushed through Australia’s third-largest city.The waters peaked around dawn about a metre below expected levels.


"I'm grateful Mother Nature hasn't been as terrible as she could have been, but people are waking up to unbearable agony across our city today," Queensland state premier told Sky News.

She described the destruction “like a war zone in some places”, with houses submerged to their rooftops in some suburbs, and railway stations, bridges and roads destroyed.

Around 12,000 homes were completely flooded, 13,700 were partly so and 5,000 businesses were fully or partly hit, according to official estimates.

Office workers were told to stay out of central Brisbane, and power was cut to more than 100,000 people in the region as a safety measure to avoid electrical fires.

The Brisbane River, which runs through the centre of the Queensland state capital, peaked at 4.46 metres at around 5:15am local time, below levels that devastated the city in 1974.

Meanwhile rescuers continued searching for missing people in communities hit by flash floods on Monday that killed at least 14 people. Dozens are unaccounted for, and there are fears that at least 12 more are dead.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app