Terrible floods in Australia bring ruin and snakes
They have not seen floods like this in Queensland for over fifty years. But as the waters subside, who should be paying for the damage?
Raging, snake-infested waters are frightening the people of Rockhampton, a city in the State of Queensland, Australia. What has happened? Pounding rain over the last few weeks has caused Queensland’s rivers to overflow, flooding an area the size of France and Germany combined.
In the worst water disaster for more than half a century, 20 towns have been submerged or cut off. Although the rain has now stopped, the rivers remain swollen and for some towns, the worst is yet to come.
To make things even more dangerous for the 200,000 people who live in the area, large numbers of snakes are moving into the cities and towns to escape the flood water. These include the highly poisonous Eastern Brown snake.Crocodiles have also been seen floating in flooded areas.
Who is affected? Different people in different ways, including local residents, farmers and coal miners.
‘The water is really, really dirty,’ said one home-owner as he fled from his sodden house in a dinghy. ‘I don’t know why it’s picked up so much mud, but it’s a chocolatey, yellowy colour.’
The loss of the wheat harvest is hurting farmers. The water-damaged crops can still be used for animal feed, but are no longer suitable for making bread, which will now become more expensive.
Meanwhile, the mining industry has been brought to a standstill. Mines are flooded, railway lines unusable and bridges unstable.Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coke, a type ofcoal, but the transport ships are waiting empty in the harbor. Lost production may have cost the mining industry one billion dollars.
Soon the floods will subside in Queensland, but as the waters go down, a question comes up: who should pay for the damage? Residents have lost their homes, farmers have lost their crops and the mining industry has lost exports.
One Queensland Insurance company has already received 1800 claims with many others to come. But will they pay in full? And what of those who are not insured?
Some think the government should pay for everything, as this was a disaster no one could predict. Others think the residents and companies should pay for their own repairs as they chose to live and work in an area prone to flooding, and so knew the risks.
When the rains fall, the rivers flood and wild water destroys everything: who should pay the bill?
- Flood water can be very frightening. What is the most frightening weather you have experienced?
- Sometimes disasters bring out the best in people. They perform acts of bravery and start helping each other, when before they didn’t talk. So can disasters make us kinder people?
- Imagine your home is being flooded, and you can only take three possessions with you. Which possessions would you take and why?
- Imagine you are a home-owner, farmer or coal miner caught by the floods. Tell your story of what happened when the waters came.
Some People Say...
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What do you think?
Q & A
- Where is the flood and how bad is it?
- The flood area is in the State of Queensland in North-West Australia. It is covering a land area the size of France and Germany combined.
- What caused it?
- Very heavy rains have caused the rivers to fill and overflow, flooding the land around.
- How many people are affected? And how?
- About 200,000 people have been caught up in the floods, including residents, farmers and coal miners. Many residents have had to leave their homes; the farmers have lost their crops and the mines are filled with water.
- What about the animals?
- Snakes have come into the towns and cities to escape the water, as have many rats. Also, crocodiles have been seen floating in the waters making them dangerous places.
- Who will pay for the damage?
- We don’t know yet. That’s an argument for the future, but whoever pays, it’s going to cost billions of Australian dollars.