Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says it's extraordinary no one was killed in flooding that swept away homes and major infrastructure in Western Australia's north.
A massive disaster relief operation is under way in the Kimberley region with 200 Australian Defence Force personnel and eight aircraft on the ground or set to arrive on Tuesday.
The prime minister toured the flood zone with Premier Mark McGowan on Monday to view the devastation and announce disaster relief payments.
"When you go and look first-hand at the damage that was done, for example to the bridges and the roads, you see the power of this water," Mr Albanese told reporters in Broome.
"It is quite extraordinary there has not been a more extreme human outcome ... That there isn't a greater human cost.
"You can rebuild roads, you can rebuild houses but you can't, of course, rebuild lives."
Mr Albanese said there had been massive infrastructure damage and some residents "have lost just about everything".
"Communities have been doing it extremely tough," he said.
"This has been a traumatic experience."
Mr Albanese and Mr McGowan met with residents in flood-ravaged Fitzroy Crossing, where the receding water has started to reveal significant damage to homes, roads and bridges.
Community members raised a broad range of concerns including the lack of power to some homes and repairs for motor vehicles after the town's only mechanic was swamped.
"There was a great spirit there in the meeting today," the prime minister said.
"Communities are determined to fight back and rebuild."
They can now apply for commonwealth emergency relief payments, with individuals eligible for $200 each, up to $800 per household.
Financial assistance is also available for house repairs and contents replacement up to $10,000.
Food and supplies are being flown into the town and work is proceeding on getting supplies to stranded remote Indigenous communities in the area.
Mr McGowan said about 100 Fitzroy Crossing homes had been inundated by the floodwater and assessments were under way.
"It's been a very difficult period and many homes are damaged," he said.
"What was (also) noticeable, was the damage to infrastructure, the roads and bridges were heavily damaged and that's going to take some time to repair."
Aerial photos show a large section of the Fitzroy River bridge has collapsed along with stretches of the Great Northern Highway, cutting WA's only road transport route to the state's north.
Mr Albanese said the cost of repairing the damaged infrastructure and homes would be massive.
The extent of cattle loss remains unknown but is expected to be heavy, with the federal government saying it will look at providing support to primary producers.
The Fitzroy River peaked in Fitzroy Crossing, 400km inland from Broome, at a record 15.81 metres late on Wednesday, with mass evacuations in and around the town of 1200.
The flooding was caused by ex-tropical cyclone Ellie dumping an unprecedented amount of rain as it circled the town three times.
The floodwaters have now moved west and have peaked at Willare as they flow seaward towards Derby, which also remains cut off.
Derby and West Kimberley Shire President Geoff Haerewa said emergency services and volunteer organisations were on top of the situation, but hundreds of people were crowded into makeshift evacuation facilities such as community halls.
"There's no air conditioning, and we don't have the toilet facilities and the kitchen facilities to deal with a crisis of this size and magnitude," he said.
Meanwhile, police are investigating reports of looters stealing alcohol from the Crossing Inn hotel in Fitzroy Crossing.
The hotel said it had decided to destroy all alcohol kept on site after its stock was submerged in floodwaters.