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Massive floods hit Australia’s east coast, killing 7 people

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – Areas of Australia’s third most populous city Brisbane were inundated with water on Monday after heavy rain brought record flooding to several areas of the east coast and killed seven people.

Flooding in Brisbane and surrounding areas is the worst since 2011 when the city of 2.6 million people was flooded in what has been described as a once-in-a-century event.

A 59-year-old man drowned north of Brisbane on Sunday afternoon after trying to walk across a flooded creek and got caught in a fence, Queensland state police said on Monday.

Queensland Emergency Services warned of life-threatening flash floods south of Brisbane, on the Gold Coast.

People are advised to shelter where they have been unless it is unsafe to do so. Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said access to many areas had been cut off in many places.

Emergency workers have made more than 100 quick underwater rescues after receiving 8,000 calls for help in Brisbane and surrounding areas since midday on Sunday, officials said.

All seven deaths from the floods were in the state of Queensland, of which Brisbane is the capital. A search continues for a single sailor, in his 70s, who fell off his ship in the Brisbane River near the city center on Saturday.

Multiple emergency flood warnings have been issued for the Brisbane suburbs, where 2,145 homes and 2,356 businesses have been submerged or will become so on Monday as the water rises. Another 10,827 properties will be partially flooded above the flooring.

Officials say the waters are forecast to peak 50 centimeters below the 4.46-meter flood level reached in 2011.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the flooding was “very different” from 2011 as rain had pounded the area for five days. In 2011, the rain stopped a few days before the Brisbane River peaked and authorities warned of flooding downstream for days.

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said major roads had been cut. Train and ferry services across Brisbane have been halted, he said.

“We’re going to have localized flooding in many areas over the next few days,” Bailey said.

South of the Queensland border, the New South Wales town of Lismore is battling its worst flooding on record.

Downtown Lismore flooded on Monday after days of relentless rain and 15,000 people had to be evacuated, officials said.

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