It is a grim start of the year for the residents in northeast Australia. Battling the worst floods in decades, water levels continue to rise, and the forecast for the next few days is no better.

Over 20 towns and at least 200,000 people in the state of Queensland have been affected. 

Days of pounding rain last week left much of the area swamped by a sea of muddy water, in an area larger than France and Germany combined.

One official called it a disaster of biblical proportions. But what is behind this devastating heavy rain? Is man to blame or is it just heaven sent? And how will the distaster impact Queensland's economy? 

Inside Story, with presenter David Foster, discusses with Faizal Parish, the director of the Global Environment Centre, Nuzet Dalfes, the director of EURASIA institute of earth sciences at Istanbul Technical University, and Steff Gaulter, Al Jazeera's senior weather presenter.

This episode of Inside Story aired from Sunday, January 2, 2011.

Source: Al Jazeera