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Flood Advice Issued After Month Of Extremes

05 February 2013

AUSTRALIA – Eastern parts of the country have been battered with torrential January rain causing widespread flooding, concluding a month that also brought bush fires and record breaking high temperatures.

Repair assistance and damage limitation advice has been issued by government authorities after floods decimated crops, displaced livestock and caused damage to rural buildings and infrastructure as the clean-up stage begins.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported that January has been the hottest month on record with Sydney, Hobart and Moomba hosting record temperatures of 45.8, 41.8 and 49.6 degrees celcius. January’s annual mean average temperature broke records that had stood since 1932.

What followed in the latter half of January was a large depression system stemming from Cyclone Oswald. East Coast areas were subsequently inundated with rain from Sydeny to Cape York.

Rockhampton and Bundaberg were flooded as over 1420 mm of rain fell in eight days. Previous records at Gladstone for monthly rainfall were broken in four days as 820mm fell which was more than fell in the whole 2011 and 2012.

“Rural industries welcome the swift activation of Category B assistance, which provide freight subsidies and concessional loans for primary producers and small businesses,” Queensland Farmers’ Federation Chief Executive Officer Galligan.

“The loss from these floods is devastating for many farmers, and further assistance is needed. Without it, many farmers will not have the resources to repair and recover and the result will be a severe and prolonged economic impact on communities already battered by natural disasters.”

Bundaberg farmers are now trying to recover lost livestock, some of which has been swept a 100 kilometres down river. Pigs ensnarled in trees have required rescuing after becoming lodged in branches as water levels fluctuated.

The crisis is not over and authorities are urging farmers to report ‘unusual symptoms’ seen in livestock. Risk of fly-borne diseases, such as three-day sickness in cattle, will increase as biting flies and mosquitoes are attracted to wet areas.

Dr Lee, Principal Veterinary Officer at Biosecurity Queensland has urged farmers to be vigilent:"Producers and livestock owners who can access and manage their stock need to be vigilant in regularly checking and monitoring their animals' health and wellbeing.”

“Look out for are signs of mastitis in dairy cattle, and livestock poisoning from toxic plant seeds that could have become displaced during flooding,” advised Dr Lee.

Following the floods of Cyclone Yasi in 2011 most of Queensland was declared as Category C and D under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDDRA). However, this time the territory appears to affected worse still.

Freight subsidies and concessional loans are available for farmers and small businesses from the Queensland Ministry.

As normality resumes for some the Queensland government has stressed the importance of maintaining high animal welfare standards as lost animals return to farms.

Biosecurity Queensland Officer, Paul Willet has advised that an inspection of the animals housing should be carried out ensuring:

  1. Potentially dangerous debris is removed
  2. Clean drinking water and feed is provided
  3. Dry and clean accommodation is provided so animals can safely recover
  4. Ensure animals will not be returning to a noise environment

"Animals returned to their homes after the recent flooding should be regularly checked to ensure they are settling in well," Mr Willett advised.

"Initially, monitor them at least daily to ensure they are eating properly and have not sustained injuries from unobserved debris."

The Queensland government has added that dead animals must be disposed of safely after contacting local councils for assistance.

Farmers have been urged to contact regular suppliers, industry organisations or the Department of Agriculture to address feed shortages.

Michael Priestley thecattlesite Editor

TheCattleSite News Desk

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