BBCNews.com, Jan. 7, 2008
Thousands of people remain stranded by some of the worst flooding eastern
Parts of the country's most populous state, New South Wales, have been cut off by heavy rain and have been declared natural disaster zones.
There are similar problems further north in
The floods are easing now but officials have warned that many communities could be isolated for several days.
Thunderstorms since late last week have dumped huge amounts of rain on
Roads have been turned into lakes and bridges have been washed away.
Entire towns in northern
In some areas, food and other essential supplies for trapped residents have been brought in by helicopter.
"There are some 3,000 people who remain isolated by flood waters," New South Wales State Emergency Service spokesman Phil Campbell told the French news agency AFP.
Some people in isolated areas could remain cut off for as long as a week, he said.
About 700 people attending a music festival on an island near the town of
"The people have been isolated for three days and will remain isolated for the rest of today and possibly into tomorrow as well until road access can be restored," Mr Campbell said.
Others parts of the country had also been suffering from the weather.
Heavy downpours have affected
Many coastal areas have been affected by the wild weather and beaches have been closed during the busy holiday period.
The bad weather follows months of drought in
The BBC's Phil Mercer in
Experts have associated the inclement conditions in the eastern states with the La Nina weather pattern.
More summer rain is anticipated but climatologists believe it is far too early to declare
They say that the continent's long dry spell has built up massive rainfall deficits that will take a lot more than one reasonable wet season to fix.