Airport Submerged, Crocodiles Seen after Record Rain in Northern Australia

Airport Submerged, Crocodiles Seen after Record Rain in Northern Australia

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – More than 300 people were rescued overnight from floodwaters in northeast Australia, with dozens of residents clinging to roofs, officials said on Monday.

Cairns Airport was closed on Monday due to flooding and authorities were concerned that the city of 160,000 people would lose drinking water, The Evening Standard reported.

Heavy rain in the wake of former Tropical Cyclone Jasper cut off several towns popular with tourists in Australia's northeast along the Great Barrier Reef on Monday, with a crocodile also being captured from a storm drain.

“The problem is the rain won't stop and until it eases up, we can't get aerial support into remote places," the state's premier, Steven Miles, told ABC Television.

“We see a lot of natural disasters and this is just about the worst I can remember."

All 300 residents of the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal, where nine adults and a 7-year-old child spent hours overnight on a hospital roof, officials said.

Jasper was downgraded to a tropical low after leaving a trail of destruction across the state last week.

In Ingham, a town of about 5,000 inundated by floods, conservation officials captured a 9 feet long crocodile in a storm drain by a gas station.

Crocodile sightings in north Queensland are more common in rivers, lagoons and swamps in rural areas, however.

Cairns, the gateway town to the Great Barrier Reef, received about 24 inches of rain over 40 hours through early Monday, more than triple the December average.

All flights from Cairns airport were cancelled or postponed, with social media images showing planes partially submerged on the tarmac.

Water pumps have been draining water since Sunday but “it's still not keeping up with the volume of water that came in," Richard Barker, the airport's chief executive, told Sky News.

Dan, living just north of Cairns airport, who gave only one name, told ABC Radio he had to shelter atop his kitchen bench for about four hours before being taken to a house where 30 people had gathered on the roof awaiting rescue boats.

“Kids, elderly people, dogs and cats on this poor bloke's roof who just had brand new solar panels installed ... it was a very harrowing journey navigating the very fast-flowing water and dodging debris," he said.

Weather officials forecast more rain, as Jasper is likely to persist through Monday, with some regions expected to get 12 inches of rain within six hours. Major flood warnings have gone out, with rivers set to break records dating to 1977.

More than 14,000 properties regionwide have lost power.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said defense forces were on standby to launch rescue and relief efforts.

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