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Monsoon Creates Toxic Floodwater

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Great Barrier

In the early days of December 2010, extreme weather conditions caused by a tropical cyclone, led to the start of isolated flooding in parts of the state of Queensland in north-east Australia. The flooding forced the evacuation of around 1,000 people, but by the end of the month, the situation had drastically changed with more than 200,000 people thought to have been affected.

On Christmas Eve, monsoonal conditions hit the southern and central areas of the state, causing the severe flooding and evacuation of an area the size of France and Germany combined. It is thought that more than 20 towns have been severely affected, with some being up to 80% underwater. Nearly 300 roads were also closed and both of Queensland's mining and food industries have also been hit by the floods.

Flooded Street
It is thought that the worst of the torrential conditions had passed before New Years Eve, but with them there is also said to have been a seeming abundance of snakes and some crocodiles in certain areas. Other species have not come out of it quite so well, as contaminated waters returning to the oceans from the floods, are thought to have a drastic impact on Australia's marine wildlife in the future.

According to a WWF report, the toxins from flooded farms are thought to have a devastating impact on both water quality, and the survival of some of Australia's rarest and most unique species, such as the dugong. They are also extremely worried about what the affect that such a decline in water quality will have on the corals that make up the Great Barrier Reef, and the animals that inhabit it.

Ocean Coral
Initial estimates put damage costs at around £650m, but this figure has increased five times since then. Although little can really be done about the weather, WWF suggests that one solution could be the planting of more trees and bushy plants in areas that are prone to flooding. As plants absorb water, this would mean that these areas would be able to retain some of the flood water, so less polluted water would end up back in Queensland's rivers and in the ocean.

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