The powerful Cyclone Debbie has hit the north-eastern coast of Australia causing torrential rains, power cuts to thousands of homes and massive damage in the area.
It has become a category three cyclone as it moves inland, when it made landfall it was a category four storm with wind speed upto 163 mph (263 km/h) and it is expected to cause more damage in the coming hours. Only one person has been reportedly injured at this point.
The prime minister of Australia Malcolm Turnbull told the parliament that he has initiated a disaster response plan.
Ian Stewart, the Police Commissioner of Queensland said: “We are going to get lots of reports of damage, and sadly I think we will also receive reports of injuries, if not death.”
He also said that at least one man has been injured when a wall reportedly collapsed in Proserpine.
Most of the affected areas have lost their power and phone reception which has made it extremely difficult to make an accurate damage assessment according to Annastacia Palaszczuk the premier of Queensland.
She further said: “We’re going to see the impact of Cyclone Debbie for the next three to five days as it travels down the coast.”
The electricity providers have said that they have no idea when the power to the houses would be restored.
The Australian authorities have urged the people to stay indoors until the conditions are safe outside, those who have not evacuated the area are out of time and they have to wait it out. The local firemen are not allowed to respond to calls unless the wind speed lowers down to 80 km/h.
The mayor of Mackay regional council, Greg Williamson told reporters that for the last 12 hours the wind speed has been 95km/h accompanied by torrential rain. He said that the most affected areas are Proserpine, Bowen and Whitsunday Islands.
It is expected that there will be 150-500mm of rainfall on Tuesday which can cause floods in low-lying areas, people have been warned to stay away from the fallen power lines. The Australian army is on standby and food and fuel stockpiles have also been prepared.