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6/29/2007

Australia floods engulf towns after long drought

Breaking Earth News
Photo: A neighbor checks a friend's house in the Gippsland region of Victoria, Australia, on Friday.

MELBOURNE, Australia - The worst floods in decades swept across parts of Australia's drought-parched southeast Friday, engulfing farms and towns and forcing hundreds of people to abandon homes and businesses.

Several rivers in the Gippsland region of southeastern Victoria state north of Melbourne burst their banks late Thursday after two days of heavy rain following months of severe drought.

Police helicopters airlifted about 100 people to safety from several flooded towns Thursday, and Victoria's Premier Steve Bracks warned residents downstream to brace for an onslaught Friday.

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