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8 drown in flash floods in Australia

From Salma Abdelaziz, CNN
  • NEW: 72 people are now missing in latest Australia flooding
  • Eight people have been confirmed dead and 11 injured, police say
  • Prolonged flooding in northeast Australia has affected at least 200,000 people
  • Toowoomba is Queensland's biggest inland city

(CNN) -- The number of people missing after flash floods swept cars off roads in the eastern Australian city of Toowoomba rose to more than 70 on Monday, with eight people confirmed dead, police in the state of Queensland reported.

The latest flooding hit Toowoomba, about 125 kilometers (80 miles) west of the state capital Brisbane and considerably south of other areas hit by recent floods.

The Queensland Police Service confirmed that 72 people are now missing in the areas of Toowoomba and Lockyer Creek, and Chantelle Rule-Murphy, spokesperson for Emergency Management Queensland, said eight people have now been confirmed dead.

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Toowoomba is the biggest inland city in Queensland, a region that was already reeling from one of the worst floods in its history.

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Authorities there are conducting several search-and-rescue operations, and Australia's military has committed four helicopters to those efforts, Rule-Murphy said.

"A lot of places are in high alert and we still expect a good deal of rain, so we are still not out of the woods yet," Queensland police spokesman Ben Tracy said.

Since November 30, the seasonal flooding in Queensland has caused rivers to spill over their banks and reach record levels.

At least 200,000 people have been affected, and heavy rains are expected to continue moving into Tuesday.

CNN's John Raedler contributed to this report.