Violent storms and gales hit eastern Australia over Christmas. At least ten people died as a result of the disaster, local authorities reported on Wednesday. Tens of thousands of buildings are still without electricity.
Storms hit the Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland on December 25 and 26. They brought hailstorms and heavy rainfall. The fire was also accompanied by strong winds, which knocked down trees and ripped off the roofs of buildings. More than 90,000 households are still without electricity.
Police said three men died when a yacht with 11 people on board capsized in Moreton Bay, Queensland, on Tuesday.
Two women in Gympie, also in Queensland, drowned when floodwaters swept them away. Another death was found when water receded from a riverside campsite. Two people died when they were crushed by breaking trees, the AP reported. The body of a nine-year-old girl was also found. The authorities did not write anything about the tenth victim.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll admitted that the weather had been extremely difficult in recent days. Storms and strong winds downed over a thousand power lines.
Authorities warned that rapidly rising rivers and streams could flood campsites, which usually become crowded around New Year’s Day.
Steven Miles, Premier of Queensland, told the media that the losses were incurred during the Christmas holidays storms and the preceding cyclone Jasper are estimated at billions of dollars. The national weather bureau, the Bureau of Meteorology, said winds should start to calm down on Wednesday. The storms followed a heatwave, bushfires and a cyclone.
“When you put together the events of this spring and summer, it becomes clear that we are living in an era of escalating climate consequences,” said Simon Bradshaw, director of research at the NGO Climate Council.
While eastern Australia battles torrential downpours and flooding, several regions to the west are struggling with bushfires.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JASON O’BRIEN