Australia floods: Two found dead as waters grip Townsville

Two men have died in floodwaters that have forced large-scale evacuations in the Australian city of Townsville.

The pair’s bodies were found near a park on Tuesday, following what has been described as a “once in a century” flood in the northern Queensland city.

Police did not confirm whether the victims were two men, aged 21 and 23, whose disappearances on Monday had led to the discovery of the bodies.

Thousands of houses may have been flooded, officials said on Tuesday.

Townsville has received more than a metre (3.3ft) of rain in the past 10 days – the equivalent of the region’s total annual rainfall.

Police did not give further details about the two deaths, other than to say their relatives had been notified.

At least 19 people found trapped in floodwaters have been rescued since Sunday, according to state officials. In one instance, two police officers were pulled to safety after being forced to cling to trees when floods swept away their vehicle.

Volunteer rescuers and the army have used small boats, tanks and trucks to evacuate residents in low-lying areas. More than 1,100 people have been moved to higher ground.On Sunday, authorities were forced to open the gates of the city’s main dam after it swelled to double its capacity – releasing up to 1,900 cubic metres of water a second.

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