Australia's tropical Queensland state on Thursday declared a flood disaster over an area the size of France and Germany after recent monsoon storms.

Thirty Queensland communities covering 969,000 square km (374,000 sq miles) were declared disaster zones by the state's emergency services minister, Neil Roberts, including many outback and rural communities.

Queensland residents affected by storms would be able to apply for government assistance payments if they were "unable to recover via their own means", Roberts said.

Eight major rivers remain in flood after monsoonal rains and a cyclone moved across the state, cutting roads and forcing many small communities to rely on air drops of food and fresh water. The floods are eventually expected to move inland, helping fill lakes and relieving a long-running drought in parts of Australia's desert interior and tropical north.

Queensland is Australia's second biggest state by area and the third most populous, with a A$187 billion ($125.8 billion) economy reliant on tourism, coal mining and agriculture. The state last year recorded a growth rate of 5.1 percent.