Response to historic flooding in Australia

January 2011: Australian government authorities are working overtime to try and help the communities of Queensland in the midst of epic flooding, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. More than 9,000 homes in Brisbane, the country's third largest city, are expected to be impacted by flood waters, while the city's downtown central business center cut it's electricity, the BBC reported.

Already, more than 200,000 people have been affected while in the town of Toowoomba, ten people were killed in a flash tsunami. Another 70 people are missing there. As the flooding unfolds, the ABC has set up a Qld Flood Crisis Map which can monitor eyewitness reports in realtime via Ushahidi.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported search and rescue operations have been hampered by bad weather, while in the town of Forest Hill, the whole population of 300 had to be evacuated via helicopter. The flooding is so bad 3/4 of the territory of Queensland has been declared a disaster zone.

Getting information out to people has been a primary task of government officials. Aside from official information venues, social networks have been playing a role in helping people send information about the floods, as well as use information available. On Twitter, the hashtag #qldfloods is being used to help search for information. The Queensland Government's Twitter page, along with the Queensland Police Department are using the hashtag to help guide users to official information.

Sites like @SEQIncidents have been relaying information about mass transit, Red Cross alerts, airport updates, and emergency services. Meanwhile, official government outlets, like the Queensland Government are keeping updates.