Severe flooding in Northeast Australia has severely harmed the agriculture sector of the state of Queensland with damage estimates exceeding $1 billion in production lost to the natural disaster, according to media reports. Flooding and consequences are expected to last for several more weeks.
Commodities such as wheat, coal and sugar have suffered. Twenty percent of the sugarcane harvest for 2010 has been abandoned and the early stages of crops for the 2011 season were submerged by water. Three-quarters of the state's coal fields no longer are in operation. About half of the crop of the globe's fourth largest exporter of wheat has been destroyed.
"Given the scale and size of this disaster, and the prospect that we will see waters sitting potentially for a couple of weeks, we will continue to have major issues to deal with throughout January," Queensland premier Anna Bligh said on local radio late Monday.
Australia's government has intervened and the United States and New Zealand also have offered assistance and aid.
The State of Queensland will "need to buy more raw sugar from rivals Brazil and Thailand to meet sales commitments because of drenched canefields," according to Canegrowers, an industry group.