Maltese in Australia accounted for

An Australian soldier walks beside a pile of debris removed from flood damaged houses in the Brisbane suburb of Fairfield. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP

An Australian soldier walks beside a pile of debris removed from flood damaged houses in the Brisbane suburb of Fairfield. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP

All Maltese in Australia have been accounted for after two elderly women with Maltese connections who were missing for more than 24 hours in the Brisbane floods were located.

Raymond Xerri, founding president of the Gozo Branch of the Friends of Australia Association, said on Thursday Maltese families were still trying to locate two women in their 70s, one of whom was of Maltese descent, while the other was married to a man of Maltese descendant. They live on the outskirts of Brisbane.

The association has now established the Maltese woman had flown to France to escape the floods and the other had sought refuge in a gymnasium.

The association has located eight people of Maltese descent after 11 Gozitan and two Maltese families sought its help.

Earlier this month, four families of Gozitan descent, 13 people in all, were planning to relocate to Gozo after evacuating their houses in the northern part of Brisbane when the city was flooded. Three of them, two from Xewkija and one from Xagħra, are still going through the necessary procedures and another, made up of four people, moved from Queensland to western Australia. The families were advised against selling their property because the value of real estate had dropped by 70 per cent.

Although more floods were reported across the state, SBS radio correspondent Sandra Micallef, who lives 14 kilometres north of Brisbane, said the big clean-up was proceeding well. The coordinated efforts by the government and volunteers were amazing, she added.

Although many people returned to their homes, there were a few who found alternative accommodation until their houses were either demolished or rebuilt.

Public transport, excluding the river ferry service, is back to normal. Most of the pontoons where river ferries stop to pick up passengers were destroyed by strong currents. It is estimated it will take between 12 and 18 months to rebuild them.

The floods in Victoria are in the northwest region of the state.

“Most of the Maltese are located in Melbourne, southeast Victoria, so I do not think any have been affected,” Ms Micallef said.

Victoria residents were notified well in advance about flood water going their way, so most communities were well prepared.


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