Thousands Flee, 43 Missing as Brisbane Floods

Panic reigns as people hoard food
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2011 9:05 AM CST
A car wrecks outside the town of Grantham in South East Queensland, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Australia’s vast floods shut down the center of Brisbane today, sending thousands fleeing and others to stores in a panicked rush of food hoarding. Rescuers, meanwhile, combed the area for 43 people who have gone missing. Brisbane is the country’s third-largest city, home to 2 million people. Floodwaters are expected to peak before sunrise tomorrow, inundating roughly 20,000 homes and thousands of other buildings, the LA Times reports.

“We are in the grip of a very serious natural disaster,” the premier of Queensland tells Reuters. “Brisbane will go to sleep tonight and wake up to scenes many will never have seen before in their lives.” At least 12 people died yesterday when flash floods shot through the town of Toowoomba. “Suddenly (26 feet) of water just came up and went right through the central drain,” said one woman. “It just knocked cars around like little matchboxes in a bath—was just terrifying.”

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