Australia Floods Larger Than France Strand 200,000

(AP)

BRISBANE, Australia – Military aircraft dropped supplies to towns cut off by floods in northeastern Australia as the prime minister promised new assistance Friday to the 200,000 people affected by waters covering an area larger than France and Germany combined.

Residents were stocking up on food or evacuating their homes as rising rivers inundated or isolated 22 towns in the state of Queensland.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard toured an evacuation center in the flood-stricken town of Bundaberg on Friday and announced that families whose homes had been flooded or damaged would be eligible for disaster relief payments of $1,000 per adult and $400 per child.

"My concern is for the people in these very difficult times," Gillard said.

A day earlier, she pledged $1 million Australian dollars (about $1 million) in federal aid to match a relief fund already set up by the state government.

Bundaberg resident Sandy Kiddle told Gillard she lost cherished items after floodwaters surged through her house. She said may not be able to return home for a week.