Australia’s military has been deployed to tackle devastating “once-in-a-century” floods that have inundated homes, schools and airports in the country’s northeast, forcing hundreds to flee and bringing crocodiles into the streets.
Australia’s tropical north typically experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season, but the recent downpour has seen some areas get a year’s worth of rainfall in a week.
The authorities were forced to open floodgates of a major dam, unleashing what they called “dangerous and high velocity flows.”
Desperate residents had to contend not only with flash flooding, landslides and power blackouts, but also several saltwater crocodile sightings in residential roads and cul-de-sacs.
Police issued a blunt warning for people to stay out of floodwaters. They warned playing in flood waters could bring them face to face with a crocodile.
The Australian Defense Forces delivered 70,000 sandbags, deployed amphibious cargo vehicles and helped pluck flashlight-wielding residents from their rooftops, as monsoon rains drenched the northern state of Queensland.
Officials said, “This is unprecedented, we’ve never seen anything like this before.”
A silver lining to the deluge is that it has helped drought-stricken farmers in areas of Australia.
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