Sydney, March 28: Austrailia’s northeast region including Queensland was badly hit by the cyclone ‘Debbie’ resulting in huge loss of public property. The authorities informed that they have not received any report of human death. An evacuation plan has been put in place to rescue people safely and the people residing in low-lying areas have been requested to flee their houses to escape the wrath of the natural disaster.
The Queensland administration informed that power connection to around 38,000 houses has been hit and all efforts have been put in place to ensure restoration of essential services in the country. Cyclone Debbie has been termed the most severe cyclone since 1974 when cyclone Tracy devastated the city of Darwin on the Christmas Day. The region also witnessed the winds blowing at the speed of 250 kilometres per hour.
Great Barrier Reef islands popular with foreign tourists were pummeled by the category four storm which hit the Queensland state coast with destructive wind gusts of up to 270 kph near its wide core. There were fears the tempest’s arrival would coincide with early morning high tides, causing severe flooding, but its progress slowed before it crossed the coastline between the towns of Bowen and Airlie Beach.
The full force of the cyclone was already being felt in popular tourist destinations. Queensland politician Mark Ryan said it was also chaotic at Airlie Beach, the mainland holiday gateway to the Whitsundays. “Trees down in Airlie Beach and reports of windows shattering and some roofs starting to cave in,” he tweeted.
The Bureau of Meteorology, which forecast up to 500 millimetres (50 cm) of rain, said people should stay calm and not be complacent as the eye of the storm passes.
“Do not venture outside if you find yourself in the eye of the cyclone — very destructive winds from a different direction could resume at any time,” it said.
“People in the path of the very dangerous cyclone should stay calm and remain in a secure shelter.” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who warned the storm was shaping up as a “monster” and would last for hours, said more than 30,000 homes were already without power.
Residents across the area, who have sandbagged and boarded up homes, have been told to prepare for the worst weather to pummel the state since Cyclone Yasi in 2011, which ripped houses from their foundations and devastated crops.
The federal government is on standby to provide immediate assistance in the aftermath, with a disaster relief ship en route from Sydney and navy helicopters and planes on standby.
(With inputs from agencies)