Australia flooding - don′t go in the water | News | DW | 31.03.2017
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Australia flooding - don't go in the water

As tens of thousands of people are forced out of their homes, problems aren't helped by wildlife. Offenders range from eight-legged bugs to creatures with no legs at all.

Massive floods in the wake of tropical cyclone Debbie hit two eastern Australia states on Thursday and Friday, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

The category four storm hit northeastern Australia on Tuesday between Bowen and Airlie Beach causing widespread damage. But as it tracked southeast as a tropical low it dumped huge amounts of rain all the way down the eastern coast.

At least one person died in the floods, with up to 80 centimeters (31 inches) of rain falling in 24 hours in some areas. In the town of Lismore, the State Emergency Service warned of three-meter (9.8-foot) flood levels.

In the state of New South Wales, authorities made almost 400 flood rescues and received about 2,000 calls for help since Wednesday night, public broadcaster ABC reported. In Queensland, Emergency Services had dealt with 5,600 calls for help since the cyclone disaster began.

Authorities pleaded with people not to enter the dangerous floodwaters

"Do not do anything that is even remotely risky, please protect yourselves and those around you, they are very dangerous conditions," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian was quoted as saying by the ABC.

Wildlife come out to play

If the fear of drowning weren't enough, Queensland state authorities warned that crocodiles and snakes could also be lurking in flood waters.

"Flooded waterways increase the possibilities of crocodiles and other animals, such as snakes turning up in unexpected places," the state's Vnvironment and Heritage Protection Department said.

"In most circumstances, crocodiles will be moving through, trying to get out of fast-flowing creeks and waterways to the quieter areas they prefer.

"Snakes are good swimmers and they too may turn up in unexpected places and may even find their way into people's properties," the department added.

 Images of a bull shark, stranded by the floodwaters inspired "Sharknado"-themed memes.

"I thought there were just crocs in that river," local paramedic Lisa Smith said" Smith told Brisbane's "Courier Mail."

The aggressive bull sharks are one of the leading species behind attacks on humans.

Snake catcher Anthony Bailey, from Yeppoon in central Queensland, offered on Facebook to remove the reptiles for free after the storm - and received a flood of responses.

"Already had a brown (snake) at our back door. Good on you guys for offering free assistance during this time," one person replied.

Bailey said snakes were fond of slithering indoors in wet conditions.

"They don't like sitting out in the rain, they come into houses or trees to escape the water and possibly looking for some warmth," he told the "Rockhampton Morning Bulletin."

Australians shared images of bugs escaping the floodwaters.

Watch video 01:03

Australia fears flooding after Cyclone Debbie

aw/ (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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