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Hundreds of thousands of dead livestock, wildlife pose health risk in Queensland

Receding floodwaters following Queensland's once-in-a-century monsoonal deluge have left authorities racing to dispose of hundreds of thousands of dead animals that are posing a health risk.

Cattle, sheep and wildlife perished in the unprecedented two-week rains, which left large swathes of the state under water.

Their putrefying carcasses pose a health risk to clean up crews and to local water supplies in flooded communities.

The growing hazard comes as Townsville health authorities warn residents to take precautions when cleaning flood-affected buildings.

One person has died and 10 people have been infected by melioidosis, which stems from floodwaters that are heavily contaminated with dirt and bacteria.

It's the third flood-related fatality, following the deaths of two Palm Island men who died at the peak of the floods in Townsville eight days ago. 

Farther south, police are still searching for a 35-year-old man who disappeared in floodwaters at Groper Creek on Friday.

In rural communities, exhausted graziers are becoming increasingly concerned about the floods' likely financial impact, which is expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Tuesday he would ensure a recovery and restoration plan would restore north Queensland cattle farmers to the prosperity.

The flood crisis was also discussed in the first sitting of Queensland's parliament on Tuesday.

The opposition grilled Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about a decision to open floodgates of the Ross River Dam at the peak of the floods, which inundated many houses.

Ms Palaszczuk said the dam belonged to the Townsville Shire Council and it had acted on advice from various government agencies.
Meanwhile, the mopping up in Townsville continues.

Officials have deemed 2950 homes damaged of the 8000 assessed, as an appeal to raise funds for people affected climbed to $3.6 million.

As of Tuesday, insurers had received 14,600 claims from people in Townsville with losses estimated at $175 million.


Torrential rain continued to fall for a fifth day, causing widespread flooding and prompting rescue operations and evacuations. Source: Associated Press