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Major floods hammer northern Australia, hundreds of homes evacuated

Published on Jan 27, 2013 12:35 PM
People look at a boat that has been washed up onto rocks at Airlie Beach located around 120 km (75 miles) south-east of the city of Townsville in Queensland January 25, 2013. Heavy rains - the remnants of Tropical Storm Oswald - caused some major highways and dozens of roads to be cut off, isolating towns and flooding properties, according to local authorities. Picture taken on January 25, 2013. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY - A man was missing in raging floodwaters and hundreds of homes were evacuated in northeastern Australia as storms pelted Queensland state on Sunday, with the army put on standby as the weather worsened.

Towns and cities devastated by floods in Queensland two years ago which claimed 35 lives were bracing for another devastating inundation as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald hammered the northern state.

A 27-year-old man was missing after he attempted to cross a swollen creek near Gympie north of Brisbane and a swift-water rescue team lost their boat trying to retrieve him, according to the town's mayor Ron Dyne.

Dyne said a number of people had been forced to retreat to the roofs of their homes to await rescue from the rising waters, with the centre of Gympie expected to flood later Sunday.

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