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More than 7K displaced in Queensland flood

  |   Jan. 29, 2013 at 9:42 AM
BUNDABERG, Australia, Jan. 29 (UPI) -- More than 7,000 people have been displaced in Bundaberg in Australia's Queensland, caught in the grip of the worst flooding ever in the city, officials said.

In New South Wales, the Clarence River overflowed its banks, but residents in Grafton escaped a major flood disaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

About 41,000 people were reported isolated across New South Wales, where flood warnings for 14 rivers were in effect. The flooding has been blamed for at least three deaths.

Officials expressed concern for communities downriver and warned that Alberton on the Gold Coast may be inundated.

Officials said at least 7,000 in Bundaberg were forced to flee their homes and haven't been able to return as of Tuesday even as floodwaters began to recede.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported more than 80,000 properties are without power across southeast Queensland.

Residents in Brisbane were asked to conserve water because treatment plants have been affected by flooding, even though flooding wasn't as bad as expected.

An evacuation order was issued for Harwood Island on the Clarence River near Maclean, as well as for Grafton, parts of South Grafton and low-lying areas of northern Maclean.

Parliament member Chris Gulaptis, who lives in Maclean, said he was optimistic the levee would hold when the floodwaters peak.

"The river is slowly climbing up the levee wall. I've been monitoring it all day and following also the predictions on the bureau website," Gulaptis said, later adding it was "unlikely" the water would rise another foot and a half and spill over the levee.

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