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Last Updated: Friday December 31 2010 13:06 GMT

Australian PM visits flooded areas

Man rescued from floods in Queensland

Thousands more people are being forced to evacuate their homes in the Australian state of Queensland as floodwaters continue to rise.

The flooding will cost "hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said Friday as she toured the areas by helicopter.

Waters have moved south to the town of Emerald and city of Rockhampton.

Around 200,000 people over an area larger than France and Germany have been affected by the water.

Days of heavy rain have led rivers to burst their banks, swamping homes, closing roads and forcing people to evacuate their homes.

More than half of Queensland is now a disaster zone.

An estimated 22 towns have been left isolated by the rising waters, with fears that damage could cost billions of Australian dollars to repair.