8 Feb 2009

More rain in north Queensland

6:57 pm on 8 February 2009

Heavy rain continues to fall causing more flash flooding and damage in north Queensland.

The rain has eased in Ingham but the floodwaters remain high as the monsoon trough moves south.

Ingham has been flooded for seven days.

The Herbert River peaked at 12.25 metres on Saturday night and has been steady since.

The federal government is providing ration packs for people stranded by the flooding in north Queensland.

Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says Australian Defence Force personnel are working to distribute the packs.

Searches underway

Three searches are underway for people missing in floodwaters in north Queensland.

Grave fears are held for a boy aged five who is believed to have been taken by a crocodile in floodwaters in the far north of the state.

A search was launched after the boy followed his dog into the floodwaters at Cape Tribulation, north of Cairns.

He had been walking with his seven-year-old brother at the time.

Police say the brother saw a large crocodile near where the boy vanished.

Two people are also missing at Silky Oak, south of Tully, after a vehicle carrying seven people tried to drive through floodwaters.

The car was washed away and five people who were found clinging to trees were able to be rescued, but two people are still missing.

The Bruce Highway is cut between Ayr and Townsville and the town of Tully is also cut off.

Heavy rain is forecast on Sunday night between Innisfail and Bowen.

Some 62% of the state is already a disaster area - 35 shires are affected. About one million square km are underwater.

Queensland's damage bill is expected to exceed $187 million, with 36 council areas declared disaster zones.