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A pair of shoes lie in the mud after flooded waters start to receded in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia January 1, 2011. Flood water rose across Australia's northeast on Friday, covering an area bigger than France and Germany combined, inundating 22 towns and stranding 200,000 people, and closing one of the country's major sugar export ports. Credits: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (alertnet.org)

A pair of shoes lie in the mud after flooded waters start to receded in Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia January 1, 2011. Flood water rose across Australia’s northeast on Friday, covering an area bigger than France and Germany combined, inundating 22 towns and stranding 200,000 people, and closing one of the country’s major sugar export ports.
Credits: REUTERS/Daniel Munoz (alertnet.org)

Torrential rain along Australia’s east coast has caused widespread flooding in southern and central areas of Queensland affecting more than 200,000 people.

Vast areas of Southern and Central Queensland were affected by the flood. An area the size of Germany and France combined.

The capital city of the state of Queensland, Brisbane, is now directly under threat of flooding as the Brisbane River has broken its banks amid dire predictions of the biggest floods to hit Queensland’s capital since 1974.

More rain is forecast with the river expected to reach major flood levels, and predictions of this crisis spreading into New South Wales.

The Catholic response within the Diocese of Rockhampton has been significant.

Most services, through Catholic providers of aged and community health, have kept operating thanks to good preparation, informed by previous flooding experience.

Each Catholic facility has sufficient food and linen to last up to two weeks, at which point waters are expected to have receded to allow road and air links into Rockhampton to be reopened.

Caritas Australia encourages donations of financial support be provided to St Vincent de Paul. More details can be found on theweb site of St Vincents de Paul