Aus. PM pledges aid to flood-ravaged northwest

STORY: The crisis in the Kimberley - a sparsely populated area in Western Australia state about the size of the U.S. state of California - was sparked last week by severe weather system Ellie, a former tropical cyclone that brought a year's worth of rain to some areas in a matter of days.

Albanese announced on Monday A$10,000 ($6,900) for home repair and up to A$10,000 to replace household goods. He said that it was too soon to estimate the full cost of rebuilding wrecked highways and bridges but that the final figure will be "very large."

Military aircraft helped airlift supplies and evacuate residents in cut-off towns such as Fitzroy Crossing, home to roughly 1,000. More than 280 people across the region have been evacuated or relocated, state authorities said on Sunday (January 8).