Australia's third largest city slowly drowns

42998.jpegAustralia's third-largest city was slowly being submerged on Wednesday as unrelenting brown floodwater swept down the Brisbane River, triggering shock and despair as thousands of homes and businesses were inundated.

What were dry suburban streets in the morning turned into rivers hours later and the city's central business district became a watery ghost town of high rise towers. Residents in the city of two million people were told to evacuate homes early, but many were caught out by the speed of the rising water, which is not expected to peak until early Thursday and then remain high for days, Reuters informs.

Many people in Brisbane appeared to have heeded advice to leave. By last night, the city centre was a ghost town, with only a few shop owners left hoping to save their businesses with last-minute barricades of sandbags and plastic sheeting.

The sun was shining today, but the mood was tense. A few residents balanced possessions on surfboards and paddled through floodwaters, while boats ferried others to dry ground. Some people pushed shopping trolleys full of supplies through the flooded streets or waded through shoulder-high water to rescue possessions, The Guardian says.

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