At least 1,000 people have been evacuated in Queensland, including the entire population of one town, as north-eastern Australia experiences its worst flooding in decades.
Two Blackhawk helicopters helped to relocate all 300 people living in the town of Theodore, and with the river of the same name still in flood, only police and essential services personnel remained in the town, according to the Queensland government.
Authorities have declared half of Queensland a disaster zone, and the state capital, Brisbane, has recorded its wettest December in more than 150 years. Cyclone Tasha, which hit the area on Saturday, brought further torrential rain, according to The Guardian.
Premier Anna Bligh said today 12 communities were isolated by flooding and more water is on the way.
Ms Bligh said the damage would cost governments and insurance companies billions of dollars, and appealed to Australians to "dig deep" and donate to an emergency relief fund.
Flood damage to roads alone will total at least $1.5 billion, Ms Bligh said during a visit to Emerald, adding that Queensland is facing its "toughest hour", The Australian reports.