Australian flooding claims first victim in Queensland

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Media captionThe waters are still rising in the city of Rockhampton

A woman swept from the road in her car has become the first victim of widespread flooding in the Australian state of Queensland.

At least two other people have been reported missing.

More than 20 towns have already been cut off or flooded across an area larger than France and Germany, with more than 200,000 people affected.

In some areas waters are receding, but in Rockhampton - a city of 77,000 - they have yet to reach their peak.

The 41-year-old woman who was killed had been trying to cross the Leichhardt River on a causeway with one other car when both vehicles were swept away.

Police rescued eight people from the cars, but were unable to reach the woman. Her body was recovered later.

Costly damage

Rescue workers have also been searching for a man whose small fishing boat was swamped by flood waters in the mouth of the Boyne River, and for a swimmer who disappeared in the Fitzroy river, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

There are fears that damage from the floods could cost billions of Australian dollars to repair.

Officials have warned that the mining, farming and tourism industries will all suffer.

Recovery efforts are beginning in some areas where flooding has subsided, including the severely affected towns of Emerald and Bundaberg.

Residents are preparing to return home, though the towns of Theodore and Condamine, which were completely evacuated, remain empty.

In some areas, helicopters have been used to deliver supplies and food to cut-off householders.

Residents in Rockhampton have been leaving their homes for days as water levels continue to rise.

The mayor there, Brad Carter, has warned that about 40% of the city could be affected.

The airport has been closed to commercial flights, and roads into the city from the south and the west have been cut off.

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