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Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces military assistance for victims of Queensland's devastating floods. The floods cover a land area that's larger than the U.S. state of Texas.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has ordered military assistance for towns that have been devastated by floods in the northeast state of Queensland. The record floods cover an area larger than the U.S. states of Texas and Indiana combined. They've also cut off 22 towns and stranded some 200-thousand people.
Australian military aircraft are racing to resupply the town of Rockhampton ahead of floods that could isolate the town by mid-week.
[Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister]:
"Fifty tons of food supply will be moved by this method today and tomorrow. Of course it's possible that that road will become impassable and already contingency plans are being made to move food either by barge or by helicopter into Rockhampton by defense force work."
But heavy downpours have made it difficult to drop emergency supplies into the stranded city of Rockhampton, a community of 75-thousand situated 370 miles north of the state capital, Brisbane.
The airport in Rockhampton has been closed and the deadline for the airlift is Wednesday, when the Fitzroy River is projected to peak, and all roads leading to the city to be cut.
Rockhampton's Fitzroy River reached 29.5 feet on Monday and is expected to rise to about 31 feet by Wednesday.
[Anna Bligh, Queensland Premier]:
"Given the size of this disaster, given how long some of these towns are going to be either landlocked by cut off roads or inundated and the affect that will have particularly on small businesses and primary producers, on an application by the State Government, the prime minister has approved category C assistance to small businesses and to rural producers."