Australia's Queensland flood crisis escalates, 9 dead, 66 missing

BRISBANE, Australia. January 11. KAZINFORM Australia's Queensland flood crisis has escalated as many towns in southern Queensland have been devastated by Monday's unprecedented flash flooding.

The death toll from the flash flooding has risen to nine after another body was found, with about 66 people still missing, the state Premier Anna Bligh told reporters on Tuesday.

Bligh said many people remained unaccounted for in the Lockyer Valley towns of Murphy's Creek, Grantham and Withcott, west of Brisbane and poor weather continued to hamper rescue efforts.

The wall of water is making its way to Brisbane, where rain and storms are lashing the city and the biggest flood since 1974 is expected to arrive in the next two days.

Bligh said the situation in Brisbane and Ipswich, a suburb 40 km south-west of Brisbane, was very serious.

"Ipswich and Brisbane are now facing their greatest threat and toughest test in more than 35 years," she said.

"Current predictions indicate the river will continue to rise into Thursday with flood levels expected to be higher than the 1974 peak," Bligh said.

"Now is not a time for panic, now is the time for us to stick together," the state Premier said, Xinhuanet reports.

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