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New South Wales braces for river peaks as Queensland counts flood cost Four deaths confirmed from torrential rains that have drenched Australia's east coast, recalling 2010-2011 disaster * , Tuesday 29 January 2013 03.13 EST

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Rescuers check a flooded area of Rosalie in Brisbane, the Queensland capital. Photograph: Dave Hunt/EPA A fourth person has died in flood-affected areas on Australia's east coast as communities across the states of New South Wales and Queensland count the cost of a second major flood disaster in as many years.

A three-year-old boy – the youngest victim – died from injuries sustained when a tree fell on him and his mother as they were looking at rising floodwaters in Brisbane on Monday morning. The child's 34-year-old mother, who is pregnant, remained in hospital with several broken bones and head injuries.

Across two states, tens of thousands of people have been isolated by rising floodwaters. In Queensland the focus remained on the city of Bundaberg, 190 miles (300km) north of Brisbane and home to 100,000 people. Bundaberg's Burnett river peaked on Tuesday, surging into 2,000 homes and about 200 businesses. Hundreds of residents, including 131 patients from the Bundaberg hospital, had earlier been airlifted to safety as the waters moving at 40 miles an hour threatened to rip houses from their foundations. One house was reported to have been swept away.

"This is the centre of the floods crisis here in Queensland," said the state's premier, Campbell Newman, who visited the city.

"I've seen the city from the air, I've seen perhaps even more extraordinary sights than we saw two years ago in south-east Queensland," he said, referring to the devastating floods of 2011 in which an area the size of France and Germany combined was inundated.

In the state's capital, Brisbane, home to more than 2 million people, the Brisbane river peaked on Tuesday at below predicted heights and well below the...
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