Monday, June 6, 2011

Australia flood costs blow out to US $7 billion

Terra Daily via AFP: The damage bill from massive floods which hit northeastern Australia this year will likely be Aus$6.8 billion dollars (US$7.3 billion) -- $1 billion more than previously thought -- an official said Sunday. Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser revised the cost of the natural disaster which affected an area the size of France and Germany combined and was followed within days by the destructive Cyclone Yasi after getting further estimates.

"As well as the tragic human cost, there has also been enormous damage to infrastructure and significant costs incurred in managing the response and recovery process," Fraser said in a statement. "Such a big damage bill underlines the enormity of the task ahead."

Australia suffered historic floods in December and January which swamped coal mines, ruined roads and other infrastructure and destroyed crops and farmland in Queensland. The first estimate was that Aus$5.8 billion of damage had been caused by the floods which swamped thousands of homes and paralysed the state capital Brisbane.

Fraser said the revised figure was due to local councils increasing their estimate for repairs by $900 million to more than $2.7 billion. The floods, which claimed more than 30 lives, also helped Australia's economy to its heaviest contraction for 20 years in the first three months of 2011, according to data released last week….

Ross River flooding New Year's Day, 2011, in Queensland, shot by Rob and Stephanie Levy, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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