Australian flood victims promised financial aid

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by ITN News

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Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced further financial assistance to help people who had had their livelihoods disrupted by the flood disaster.

The Australian government has pledged $1000 Australian dollars for every adult and $400 for every child, to assist in circumstances where people or their homes have been affected by the floods.

The flood disaster has cost Australia just over $5 billion Australian dollars, analysts say.

The towns of Maryborough and Gympie in Queensland are the latest to be affected by floods.

The Mary River in Maryborough peaked on Sunday to a level of 8.5 metres, inundating some homes and businesses nearby.

In the town of Gympie business owners are relatively prepared after moving stocks from offices to save them from the floods.

In Dalby, the town is preparing for its fifth flood since December 20, but the town's mayor is urging his residents not to become complacent about the dangers of floodwaters.

The latest flooding is a sign that the ground has little capacity left to soak up any more moisture, so any new rain is likely to make matters worse. Some areas of Queensland have had more than 343 millimetres of rain in the past 24 hours.

The floods are the worst in 50 years, affecting an area greater than France and Germany combined, caused by a "La Nina" weather pattern which produces monsoonal rains west of the Pacific Ocean and in Southeast Asia.

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