World

Cyclone Debbie set to inflict more damage on Queensland

BRISBANE Rising floods plagued large parts of eastern Australia yesterday as emergency workers battled to restore water and electricity in cyclone-hit areas, with the recovery efforts expected to last several months.

At least three people were dead and several missing after torrential rain inundated large areas of Queensland and New South Wales states, flooding homes and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

Category four Cyclone Debbie smashed into Queensland on Tuesday between Bowen and Airlie, ripping up trees and causing widespread damage that is still being assessed.

Even as skies began to clear, numerous towns were still on flood alert and some regions remain under water.

Logan, just south of Brisbane, reflected the varied situation, with rising floods affecting some areas while other parts swung into clean-up mode as waters receded.

"This is unprecedented for us," Logan city mayor Luke Smith said yesterday, warning that his city was still "in flux" with one key river remaining at high levels. "The sky is the limit at this stage about what that means," he added about the potential damage bill.

In Rockhampton in central-east Queensland, residents were bracing themselves for the biggest floods they have experienced since 1954.

"Debbie is not done with us yet," Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said, when visiting Rockhampton on Saturday. "This one is going to be a big one," she added yesterday.

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared Queensland and northern New South Wales disaster zones, estimating the damage bill could reach A$1 billion (S$1.06 billion). - AFP, REUTERS

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