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Swept away. Eight dead and

dozens missing. Queensland

counts the tragic cost

nature's fury. After the deluge

as Toowoomba reels from the flood disaster, concerns switch

to Ipswich and Brisbane. Close call, Gympie spared major

damage as its flood peak

recedes. And bushfire threat. Homes destroyed and residents

evacuated south of Perth.

Hello. Welcome to ABC News Chettle. Authorities in across

Queensland are grappling with the worst natural disaster in

the State's history. The

Lockyer Valley at the foot of the Great Dividing Range near

Toowoomba has been ravaged by

floodwaters and the situation

is nearly as bad in other parts

of the State's south-east. The

7m wall of water that engulfed

Toowoomba and nearby towns in

the valley exacted a terrible

toll. At least eight are

confirmed dead, 72 missing. The

State's premier Anna Bligh says

rise. Among the dead are a she expects those

woman and a boy swept away in

the torrent that cut through

the centre of Toowoomba. A man

and a boy were caught in the

rising waters at Murphy's Creek further downstream. As the deluge coursed down the Lockyer

Valley, residents scrambled to

their rooftops. Many waited

fortress cue overnight. At

Grantham, 30 kilometres east of Toowoomba, the flood damage is

described as devastating.

Authorities at Ipswich are now bracing for a flood peak

several metres above the level

that was anticipated. It's

Brisbane River catchment, and still raining heavily in

up to 30 suburbs in the city

are now on flood alert. Karen Berkman begins our coverage. This is

This is how Grantham looked this morning, smashed to

smithereens by an irresistible force. Water rushing downhill

through the Lockyer Valley and

claiming every small town in

its path. There are unconfirmed

reports bodies have been found

in so houses and police expect

at death toll to rise. Some

houses were carried away by the raging river. Overnight 45 people were rescued

were grounded by fog this rooftops but the helicopters

morning. The key focus at the

ensure moment of course is to try and

people who are currently in people who ensure that we get all those

danger, the weather is quite

atrocious in the region, that's

causing some difficulties.

Further downstream, the town of

Laidley is filling up

fast. Like a river going down

the main street. It's really going really fast. The

Queensland Premier looked

shaken when she briefed the

media after a late-night meeting at Queensland's emergency management in Queensland has deepened headquarters. The

seriously over the past several

hours. We now have serious flooding returned to the south

west of our state and returned

with a vengeance. There was

sheer savagery in the wall of

water that swept through

Toowoomba yesterday afternoon

without warning catching people

in the central district. Two

people were drowned when their

car was washed away. Law abiding pedestrians became subject of dangerous

rescues. This has been a

terrible day. A terrible day. Reports what hit Toowoomba could

perhaps best be described as an

inland instant tsunami.

Overnight police have confirmed

no bodies have been found in

the dozens of cars submerged, the dozens of cars

smashed and tossed around the

city. Locals are still trying

to come to terms with what happened. There were barrels

floating around the car park, a

couple of big trucks this, they

were floating around. And

anything that was let loose,

the bins and the industrial

bin, all of them were floating around in the water. downstream to the major serious trouble is heading

population centres of Brisbane

and Ipswich. All the floodgates

are open at Wivenhoe Dam. Built

after the 1974 floods to spare

Brisbane another such

catastrophe. But low-lying being prepared for evacuation. areas of the city are already

In Dalby 165 people are in

evacuation centres again. The

river rising even higher than

its peak on December 27,

cutting the town in half. In

nearby Chinchilla, water's

still coming up. This is

without doubt our darkest hour

of the last Many of the accounts from

the flood zone mention the

astonishing speed of the

floodwaters. Today, rescue helicopters

victims out, and the pace of

the operation has picked up

taking advantage of badly

needed breaks in the weather.

The ABC's Paul Lockyer flew over Grantham this morning. This is what's left of the

hotel in Grantham. It gives you

destruction of the wall of an idea of the cheer

water that came down from

Toowoomba. This is replicated

all up and down this All across this small town.

What was a beautiful small

rural town at the bottom of the

slopes coming down from

Toowoomba. What happened here

enormous flash flood through yesterday was that we saw

the main street of Toowoomba,

carrying cars like match box

toys and dumping them at the end of the street. People

clinging to light poles, to

trees, to each other to try to

save their lives. The wall of

water was up to 7 or 8 mt high

by the time it reached

Grantham. It swept through here. The destruction here is

probably akin to Cyclone Tracy

in Darwin. So immense is this

destruction. Not by the force

of the wind but by the force of

the water. Unbelievable scenes.

House after house after house

and we've heard from survivors

here who were on the rooftop of

that pub, watching the cars

float by. Over there in the

railway yard we see all the

cars parked because people went

to work as usual. There's a lot

the people are. They haven't of cars in that car park. And

accounted for them yet. We know

there are 7 dead. We know that

40 people were plucked from

rooftops around here and right

through the Lockyer Valley. We know there are still scores of

missing - scores missing still.

All the time the rain keeps

coming. This is going to hamper

the rescue and recovery efforts

all day here. The disaster is far from over from Queensland.

There will be heavy rain right

through south eastern

Queensland today. And the focus

should be on the Lockyer Valley on to Brisbane itself there today but

will be high tides there

holding back these floodwaters

and homes in Brisbane will be at

at risk. On the other side of

the great divide just beyond

Toowoomba there are towns Toowoomba there are towns like

Dalby, Chinchilla and Condamine

which have been through flood

crisis, recovered, but the

waters are rising again. In the

days to come it will be the northern coast of New South

Wales that comes at risk. This

disaster is far from over. This

is the greatest flood that has

certainly hit Queensland. It

may be the greatest flood that

has ever hit Australia and

certainly the damage here will be

ever incurred by this nation. Toowoomba residents are coming

to terms with the of the disaster. The local

mayor says there it was no real

warning before a raging torrent ripped through the centre of

the city. No-one could ever

imagine you would get almost a tidal wave or inland tsunami

running down the middle of the city. There are creeks that are

normal drainage roads, occasionally upstream they

might cut a street or two but

you never imagine they'll rise

metres in a few minutes.

Literally pick up cars from

parking areas and just wash

cars and debris and people just

downstream. You said you were

able to activate emergency procedures. How much warning

did you get? We had no warning

that that might occur. I don't think anyone think anyone has ever planned

or dreamed about getting that

level of rainfall intensity for

that period of time and seeing

a wall of water come down through the middle of the city

and blow away.windows on shops and you

and you know, the coffee clubs

and the places like that where

we'd normally sit and enjoy

lunch or a meal, other

businesses along the business

area and the main street that

hoped a metre and a half to 2m

of water in them. You wouldn't think that possible. We're well

planned, well organised. We

have a lot of people on the

ground, on the road. We have a

big staff. Our Toowoomba regional government area now

covers 13,000 square kilometres. And the city of

Toowoomba and surrounding

towns. This is a big job. And

unfortunately, we've lost the

lives of a couple of our

residents which is the toughest

thing of all. The pictures

we're seeing give a glimpse of

the scale of this disaster. Just how long will it take to

clean up? Look it's going to

take - we'll clean up the immediate area, immediate area, but it's going

to take many years to put back

all of the infrastructure

across Toowoomba and this whole

region that suffered massive

flooding now for a number of

weeks. We note peak of the

disaster is over, at least for

Toowoomba, but the danger

period is far from over. What's your

your advice for residents? Look, the advice

we're giving today to people is if you don't need to travel,

stay at home. We've cordoned

off a lot of the CBD area to

restricted access. As our

people are cleaning up. Some of the

the area's not safe, even some buildings will need to be

inspected where they were right

in the front of that flood. So stay home. Water's connected,

but if you're not sure of it because of the discolouration or

or smell, make sure you boil it.

and out of the city. To the

east the Toowoomba range has

been collapsed. There've been

landslides on the range.

Limited access to the north.

The road out to Crows Nest on

the highway there, there was

flooding in Crows Nest, the

road is closed there, the roads

to Gary Creek and going west on

the Warrego Highway are closed

as well. There's major damage

to the roads and still water to the roads and still water on

the roads, so people I would

say to residents just stay at

home unless it's absolutely

necessary you need to go somewhere. where you are, stay where you

are. Thanks for your time. Thank you and good luck

to everyone today. The Queensland Premier says whole families remain unaccounted for

and a massive search operation

is under way. At a news conference, Anna Bligh

described the terrible damage wrought in the worst-affected

area. We have a grim and

desperate situation in the Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley

region. We have eight confirmed

deaths at this point, but we

expect that figure to potentially quite dramatically. We have

We have 72 people as of an hour ago who are unaccounted for.

And we fully expect we may see

that figure rise as well. We

are hoping and praying that

many of those 72 people have

gone to safety overnight and

will be found safe and well.

But given the circumstances, we

hold very grave concerns for

many of those people who are

unaccount ed for in this

region. Many of the people who

are stranded or unaccounted for

are families and young children, and some of those who have

are young children including a

mother and two children in a vehicle. We have specialist

teams who are all on stand-by

in the region. in the region. The Queensland Police CERS team have been

deployed overnight. We have

specialist swift water rescue

teams on stand-by. We also have additional fire and rescue

teams. We are finding it very

difficult to get these teams

deployed because of the weather

and the constantly changing

water system. They are ready to deploy and into

weather lift. We are also

seeing flood levels rise in

river systems right across the

south west. Not only Dalby and Chinchilla evacuating people

overnight. We now expect to see

Warwick reach a peak equal to

or greater than the peak last

week by lunchtime today. As

many larly we'll see those

waters affecting stun Thorpe, Goondiwindi, Texas and all of

those towns in those regions.

The Condamine, The Condamine, the town of Condamine is also flooding with

waters rapidly rising and we'll

be watching that town very,

very closely. All vehicles that

were damaged in Toowoomba in the CBD yesterday have now been

searched by police and I'm

relieved to say we have not

found anyone in those vehicles

who is deceased or anyone at

all in those vehicles. I can

confirm that we have had one

helicopter be able to get into the air briefly this morning

who has confirmed that there

appear to be no further people on rooftops in settled areas like Helidon and in the

Grantham area. However, we

cannot rule out that there may

be people stranded on the rooftops in outlying areas and

we intend to search for those

people as soon as possible. We Queensland Premier has

described the flooding as a

grim and desperate situation.

The damage bill in Toowoomba

alone is expected to top $6

billion. The ABC's Kirrin

McKechnie is there. Essentially a freak nowhere yesterday, taking

everybody by surprise. Nobody

saw it coming. The Police

Commissioner's describing it as

a an inland tsunami this huge

body of water tore through the

streets of Toowoomba. Cars were

swept away, people clung to

trees to try to avoid being

swept away with it. These are

the sorts of things that you

hear happening in places like

South America or India. Not

here in Toowoomba. For those of

your viewers who don't know the Toowoomba it's on top of a mountain. It's part of the Great Dividing

Range. When that water cleared

the Toowoomba main streets it

headed down the Toowoomba range into the Lockyer Valley and

just started to pick off small

communities in its path. There

were about 40 people at least

who were rescued by chopper

from the roofs of their homes.

It was absolute chaos. People

were evacuated from their

homes. This is just extraordinary stuff. morning at first light the Defence Force came out, they've

started to try and search for

those dozens of people who were

still missing. As you can still missing. As you can see,

more severe weather is on the

way. Police have set up a

telephone hotline for the

relatives and friends of people

affected by the flooding in the

Toowoomba area. Fortunately for residents in

Gympie, the flood threat there has eased somewhat about a number of homes

water and the ABC's Imogen

Brennan is there. The crisis is

easing here in Gympie. The

waters have started slowly

receding. The Mary receding. The Mary River peaked

at about 19.3m last night.

That's about half a metre less

than what was expected, but as

you can see the waters are

still very high. At least 30

businesses in the CBD were

flooded. Most of the houses

here in Gympie are OK. Some

people did have to evacuate

yesterday afternoon. They were

mostly in low-lying areas. We

spoke with one couple morning a short time ago, and

they were absolutely relieved

to find that their house hadn't been touched by the floodwaters. People have told

us it's gonna be bad, it's

gonna be bad. The last big

flood we had here, it did get

up there and it did get in the

house. It was 2 inches too much

in there. It was on the floor.

That much everywhere. All

through the place. But this

time, looks like we're lucky.

says the water will continue to falls

falls are but they're not sure

if the Mary River in Gympie

will rise again because there

is more rain predicted in the

upper catchment areas. So people here are really sure

they're not going to start the

clean-up for some time yet. In

other news, authorities stay

that lives and homes remain at

risk from a fire that's burning

out of control 110 kilometres

south of Perth. Three homes

have been destroyed, and

livestock has been killed since the fire started Mandurah. Hundreds of residents

were forced to flee their

homes. And have stayed with

family and friends or at one of

the evacuation centres the evacuation centres in the

area. 150 firefighters have

worked throughout the night to

save more than 40 homes and build containment lines around

the blaze. But wind gusts of up

to 50 kilometres an hour are

making the task more difficult.

Anger is mounting among

residents as police begin an

arson investigation. Seven

separate ignition points have been discovered, and police

want to

a small green car spotted in

the area around midday

yesterday. Homes in the Chuwit Grove subdivision

Grove subdivision in Lake Clifton remain under threat and

residents are urged to leave

now or be ready to stay and

defend their properties.

Residents are being asked to

attend a public meeting today

where they will be briefed by

authorities. The man accused of

killing six people and trying

to assassinate a US

Congresswoman has fronted

for the first time since the

attack as Americans across the

country observed minute's

silence to honour those who

died. Smiling in his mug shot,

this is the man accused of

inflicting so much suffering.

22-year-old Jared Loughner. The

university drop described as

creepy by former classmates

faced court apparently coherent

and polite. Found inside his

house, a house, a scrawled note saying "I planned ahead my assassination". I told my mother he was a serial killer

the first time I saw him. With

six people dead six people dead the loss is

hard to fathom. My heart is

broken. My soul is wounded.

(Sobs) I can't understand it. I

don't know why. From the

capital, to the crime scene in Arizona, and in outer space,

the shooting has cost a pall

over the United over the United States. All of

us are still grieving and in

shock from the tragedy that

took place. The the Congress woman Gabrielle Giffords is

stable and still responding to

simple commands. At this phase in the game, no change is good.

We have no change. Her

brother-in-law is commanding an expedition on the International

Space Station. I see a

beautiful planet that seems

very inviting and peaceful out

the window. Unfortunately it is not. For

Hillary Clinton the shooting

made for unwelcome common

ground on a trip to the Middle East. Congress woman Giffords

was just shot

in our country. We have the

same kinds of problems. Back

home, America's conservative

right wing hit back at

suggestions it had whipped up

hatred, possibly provoking an unstable individual. They're

desperately using every

opportunity to try to convince

you that somehow or another

Sarah Palin is dangerous. If convicted, Jared

penalty. He will be represented

by the same lawyer who

represented the Oklahoma City

bomber Timothy McVeigh. A

strong defence and one he will

need.

The number of job advertisements grew for the

eighth month in a row in

December. The latest ANZ job

ads survey shows a 2% increase

in vacancies from the month

before, with most advertised

on-line. That's a 207% on this time last year. The

latest trade balance figures

are also out today. They show a

surplus of 2.24 billion dollars

in November, a drop of 70 million on the previous month.

A check of the markets now with

Juliette Saly. What sort of

impact is the flooding in

Queensland having on insurance stocks? We are seeing weak

France the insurers

particularly Suncorp Metway

which last week received a

number of broker downgrades on concerns about the number of claims it will face. It's down

more than 2% again today at $8.31. QBE under selling

pressure down around half a per

cent. IAG shares holding fairly

steady at $3.90 at the

moment. How is the overall market fareing? We are seeing

weakness today. We also saw

base metals sold off in London

overnight. The flood impacts

also having a sell-off on

banking stocks. The financial

sector down about a third of

1%. We have heard that Newhope

one of the coal miners in Queensland has added to that

long list of companies which

have stopped production due to

the floods. Its share price

down 3% at down 3% at $4.91. But defensive

stocks looking OK, including

Telstra also doing well on the

back of Vodafone's problems.

Telstra up 4 cents at the

moment to 2.82. Briefly, Rio

Tinto looks set to take over

another miner. What's happening there? Rivers dale mining today recommended that its

shareholders accept the $16 per

share takeover offer from Rio.

Rivers Dale a little weaker

today. Rio also slightly weaker

in line with the weaker metals prices. It's down cent to 83.85. Juliette Saly, thank you. Thanks, Nicole. To

Wall Street now. US stocks have

fallen amid concern about a possible bail-out for Portugal.

The maker of the Blackberry

Smartphone has succumbed to

pressure from Indonesia to restrict web sites accessible

through its handsets. Canada's

research in motion has agreed

to prevent its Indonesian users

from viewing pornography. It's

the first time the company's applied Internet phones anywhere in the world.

The US car industry has been

showcasing its new designs at

the Detroit Auto Show. With sales up and a new-found

confidence in the sector, electric car designs dominated

the new models. Chevrolet won

the North American car of the

year with its hybrid electric

model the Volt.

In Spain the Basque

separatist group ETA has

unilaterally called for a

permanent ceasefire for the

second time in five years. Its struggle for an independent

homeland has killed many

hundreds of home over four

decades. For more than 40 years, acts like have been the hallmarks of an organisation

responsible for more than 800

deaths. For ETA fighters it's a

war for liberation. For many others,

others, pure terrorism, where

hundreds of innocent lives have

been taken. Now after a five

month ceasefire a decision to end

end the killings. ETA has decided to and general ceasefire which

will be verifiable by the

international community, he

said. This is ETA's firm

commitment toward as process to

achieve a

and towards an end to the armed

confrontation. Spanish Prime

Minister Zapatero is sceptical.

He has already said the only

statement he wants to hear from

ETA is its dissolution of and

that caution appears to be

shared amongst many in Spain

used to broken promises from the outlawed organisation. I'm

50 years old. And I've seen

many ceasefires. And they've

not kept any of them. I don't

know about this one. They're

always saying the same thing

and it's never true. I think

yes, it should be time, but

... As for the thousands of

those killed in the ETA attacks

the association of victims of

terrorism spokesman Carlos

Fruez is dismissive of the

offer. We're not surprised,

it's the same thing again and

again. It's a new lie, another attempt to lie attempt to lie to all Spaniards

again. ETA has been under increased pressure in recent

years, with many leaders

imprisoned. The turnaround in

rhetoric perhaps more a reflection of a weakened organisation than a fundamental

change of heart.

A quick look now at other

stories making news around the

world. The US Vice-President

has made a surprise visit to

Afghanistan. He is meetth the

Afghan President Hamid Karzai

for talks about the change in

security operations ahead of America's gradual withdrawal

from July. The President of

Niger has paid tribute to three

of his soldiers killed in a gun

battle with kidnappers. French hostages were murdered

by their captors believed to be

linked to al-Qaeda. French

Special Forces and the Niger army were involved in efforts

to rescue the two Frenchmen.

The black box from the Iranian

passenger plane that crashed

yesterday has been recovered.

The plane came down in the

Azerbaijan region, killing 77

of the of the 104 people on board. The

plane broke into several pieces

from the impact. Australia has

opened its Asian Cup campaign with a many

with a many do for theable 4-0

win over India. As usual Tim

Cahill led the way for the

Socceroos who are determined to

improve on their disappointing

showing in the tournament four

years ago. While India is a

powerhouse in many areas,

football isn't one of them. The

lowest ranked team in the tournament were never expected

to put up much of a fight and

once Tim Cahill had opened the

scoring, Australia didn't look

into the attacking half carried plenty of

plenty of noise but little venom while Harry Kewell

delivered a masterclass on

shooting from distance. shooting from distance. Cahill

was chosen ahead of Scott

McDonald to lead the line.

McDonald would've looked on

enviously as chances fell

Cahill's way. The game was

effectively over before

half-time when Holman stole in

to head home. 39-0 to head home. 39-0 lead probably probably worked against Australia, who coasted through

the second half. But could count on the scoring and his

celebrations were directed

towards an auction to raise

funds for those affected by the

Queensland floods. I invite two

people to Everton to come to

watch me play. Sign boots, sign

shirts, give them the players

and give them a money can't buy

experience. Pick up the phone and do something

special. Cahill will need to

produce more of his talents on

Saturday morning when the Socceroos face a tougher test

against Korea who beat Bahrain

by 2-1 this morning. To the

weather now . There's no good

on the satellite photo, with

thick cloud circulating over

south-east Queensland and much

of New South Wales. Bringing

more heavy rain and storms.

Cloud over the rest of the south-east in a trough is

causing widespread showers and

storms. And there's cloud over

the tropics in a monsoon

trough. A deep low will draw

even more moisture into a trough tomorrow, causing

widespread rain and storms with

heaviest falls near the low

over the interior. A high will

move to the Tasman, easing rain

in eastern New South Wales and south-east easterlies are due for Western

Australia. The forecast, showers for Brisbane and Sydney a possible thunderstorm in Canberra. Storms for Melbourne,

rain in Hobart, a possible

storm in Adelaide, sunny in

Perth and windy with showers in

Darwin. And a final check now

of the markets.

That's the news for now

there is coverage of the

Queensland flood disaster on ABC News 24 Our next full bulletin on ABC1

is at 7pm. I'm Nicole Chettle. Have a good day. Closed Captions by CSI This is the village of Eastry in Kent. and, over the years, the villagers here have been tantalised by Anglo-Saxon finds. A warrior grave came up at the back of this house, behind there, another burial laden with finds.