The Sydney Morning Herald
By Glenda Kwek
A victim found 80 kilometres away from where the person went missing in the Lockyer Valley demonstrates the massive search and rescue task ahead, authorities say.
And Queensland's police chief warned today that it was possible some of the victims might never be found.
The death toll from the flood disaster has risen to 16, after another body was found in the Lockyer Valley.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said search and rescue teams had located the body of a woman near Grantham this morning.
"There's going to be a lot of heartache in the Lockyer Valley for a long time," Ms Bligh said.
Many of the victims have been found at the location, which was decimated by a wall of water that rushed through it this week.
Fifty-one remain missing.
Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said the force of the water had carried victims a long way away.
"One of the people who are confirmed deceased was found 80 kilometres downstream from where they were reported missing," he told reporters today.
"I think this just demonstrates and highlights the complexity of these search and rescue operations and also the time that's going to be consumed searching all of the creeks and streams associated with this river system."
He said he understood families and communities were anxious for news of the missing.
"A lot of resources are being put into the search and we're doing the best we can to complete the search as quickly as possible," he said.
After searching homes yesterday, Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson said crews were starting to sort through the huge piles of debris that have been left scattered throughout the valley.
He said it was possible some bodies might never be found, noting that emergency workers had more than 200 kilometres of waterways to cover.
"This search can't possibly be completed until some time next week," he said.
"And we could not exclude the possibility that someone may never be found."
Meanwhile, a team of 80 specialist fire and rescue officers and 36 recruits have been deployed into Ipswich and Brisbane to help the clean-up and assessment effort.
Disturbingly, there have nine people have now arrested in Brisbane and another in Ipswich on a total 18 charges of looting, with dinghies and other small items allegedly being taken, Mr Atkinson said.
He and Mr Roberts said the maximum penalty for looting doubled to 10 years during disasters.
They urged residents who saw suspicious behaviour to call police.
Rare for bodies not to be found: Katrina expert
But Honorary Professor Edward Blakely of the University of Sydney's United States Studies Centre, who served as the New Orleans ''recovery tsar'' after the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, said it was ''very very rare'' that victims' bodies were not found.
He said in disaster areas such as New Orleans, land and properties would be divided into zones and searched thoroughly.
Dogs would be used to search for bodies, and every property that was searched would have a notice stuck to its front door listing everything found there.
Even bodies in rivers, seas and oceans would be found eventually, Professor Blakely, an expert in urban policy and disaster recovery, said.
''That happened in Katrina. But human bodies are what they are, and unless there are lots of sharks around, they will float up at some point and be found.
''But the dogs usually sniff them out before they get that far.''
Bodies were usually found in the attic or a crawl space above a house as a result of victims trying to avoid the rising flood waters.
''They seldom die from the floods. They usually die from suffocation in the attic ... [as] there is inadequate air.''