Cyclone Debbie: Deadly flooding on east coast of Australia

The remnants of a powerful cyclone have swept along Australia’s east coast, inflicting deadly flooding and destruction.

Tens of thousands of people have been affected, with roads cut and bridges destroyed.

At least three lives have been lost in the floods and there are fears for other people still missing.

“It’s unbelievable, mate,” said one man, speaking from a boat in the flooded town of Lismore, New South Wales.

“Look at the traffic lights. They are nearly under! Look at the signs over there, the houses. Everyone has had to evacuate.”

Cyclone Debbie, a category four storm, one short of the most powerful level five, pounded Queensland state on Tuesday, smashing tourist resorts, bringing down power lines and shutting down coal mines.

Cyclone Debbie has departed, leaving disaster in her wake https://t.co/QDi4haKnF9— The Australian (@australian) 1 avril 2017

The disaster zone stretches 1,000 km from Queensland’s tropical resort islands and Gold Coast tourist strip to the farmlands of New South Wales.

Six large rivers have hit major flood levels and were still rising in several areas, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Police say they recovered the bodies of two women from floodwaters late on Friday. One was found on a flooded property and the other retrieved by police divers from a car that had been swept off a flooded bridge.

Reports also speak of an elderly man’s body being found, south of Brisbane.

JUST IN: Authorities confirm man’s body, believed to be 77-year-old Nelson Raebel, was found just before 4pm. #9News https://t.co/Lw0FxvIht4— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) 1 avril 2017

“A great amount of effort has been focussed over the last 24 hours on flood rescues, making sure people are safe,” said New South Wales State Emergency Services Commissioner Mark Smethurst.

“We are now in a position where we are focussing on those that have been isolated and making sure they have got sufficient food and water and we expect by Monday that we will be into the recovery mode.”

For now, with more than 100,000 homes without power and communities swamped and stranded, many are still waiting for this nightmare to end.

with Reuters

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