Towns in the southern Australian state of Victoria were on Monday bracing for their biggest floods in 200 years as the death toll from the natural disaster in Queensland rose.
Residents of the town of Horsham, which lies 190 miles northwest of Melbourne and is home to 14,000 people, were rushing to protect their homes with sandbags as the swollen Wimmera River threatened 500 properties. The river is expected to peak overnight at more than 13ft and could inundate another small 12 towns, Telegraph reports.
Queensland, Australia's largest coal exporter, accounts for about 20 percent of the nation's A$1.3 trillion economy ($1.28 trillion). The floods may cost insurers and reinsurers worldwide as much as $6 billion, according to Milan Simic, managing director of catastrophe modeler AIR Worldwide.
Brisbane City Council is offering free tetanus vaccinations this week to flood-hit residents and volunteers who are helping to clean up as concern mounts about the risk of infection from the stinking brown residue left by flood waters, BusinessWeek says.