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Last Updated: Wednesday January 12 2011 18:32 GMT

Australian floods closing in on Brisbane as rivers rise

Flooding in Brisbane

People flee Brisbane to escape floods

Thousands of people in Australia's third biggest city, Brisbane, have had to leave their homes to escape rising flood waters.

Officials say river levels are already almost five metres above normal, and the floods aren't expected to peak until Thursday.

Around 20,000 homes in Brisbane are at risk and electricity in some parts of the city has been switched off.

At least 12 people have been killed in the floods and many more are missing.

Search and rescue teams are travelling through the floods looking for survivors.

Thousands of people are sleeping in evacuation centres away from the flooding.

The towns of Ipswich and Toowoomba have also been swamped by the flood waters.