Friday, January 21, 2011

Victorian flood disaster expected to cost farming $2bn

World Worst Disasters
Victoria's flood disaster could cost the farming industry up to $2 billion in lost stock and damage, while the regional city of Swan Hill is the latest town to come under threat from the surging floodwaters.

Authorities yesterday issued a major flood warning for Swan Hill, which is on the banks of the Murray River, saying the Loddon River was likely to flood the northwestern city this weekend and peak at 4.8m early next week.

Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said last night the first estimates of damage by the Department of Primary Industries were that the floods and heavy summer rains could cost the industry between $1.5 billion and $2 billion. This included livestock loss from the floods, rain damage to crops and the effects on sheep and cattle.

"It's affecting everyone in one form or another," he said. "It's going to require a fair bit of will and determination from everyone."

Mr Walsh said farms from wine grapes to stone-fruits to grains across the north of the state had been hit.

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