Toddler saved in helicopter rescue
A toddler is airlifted to safety in a dramatic rescue south of Rockhampton, just one of a number of helicopter rescues being performed across Queensland.PT1M22S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2dfy9 620 349 January 28, 2013
Update Insurance claims from the latest Queensland floods have already topped $43 million, as river levels continue to rise in large parts of the state.
As early Monday afternoon, about 5050 claims had been lodged relating to losses from the major rain event now affecting Queensland and New South Wales, said Campbell Fuller, general manager for communications at the the Insurance Council of Australia.
The total claimed losses are likely to be reach $50 million by mid week, he said.
"Rivers are still rising across south-eastern Queensland," he said, adding that flood waters were yet to peak at Ipswich and much of Bundaberg remained underwater.
Heavy rain is also falling over much of New South Wales as the remnants of former tropical cyclone Oswald move south.
The Bureau of Meteorology has posted a severe weather warning for destructive winds, heavy rain and abnormally high tides over a wide area stretching from the Illawarra to the Northern Rivers region.
The council yesterday declared a catastrophe for large parts of Queensland affected by storms and inundation. The declaration means insurers have set up a taskforce to co-ordinate their response to recovery efforts.
The floods are the third catastrophe declared so far this year following severe bushfires in south-eastern Tasmania and northern NSW. The council has declared six catastrophes in Queensland for flooding and cyclone damage since 2010, with losses reaching almost $4 billion.
Insurers and re-insurers have singled out water - either too much or too little of it - as the main risk from extreme weather in Australia.
The council, in particular, has been calling for increased spending on efforts to limit the damage from flooding, such as the construction of flood levees around flood-prone towns.
Despite those calls, Mr Fuller said, there had not been much money spent in Queensland since the last big floods there in 2011.
"I'm unaware of any substantive mitigation that has taken place over the past two years," he said.
The ICA has set up a disaster hotline on 1800 734 621 to help people identify their insurer and their coverage, particularly for those unable to access their own records because of the floods.