Tourists stranded, power outages, ‘war zone’ cities: Australia’s Cyclone Debbie aftermath

By on March 29, 2017


Tropical Cyclone Debbie ravaged the northeastern state of Queensland on Tuesday, leaving a trail of destruction, and ongoing concerns on Wednesday, in its wake. (Photo; NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Facebook)
Tropical Cyclone Debbie ravaged the northeastern state of Queensland on Tuesday, leaving a trail of destruction, and ongoing concerns on Wednesday, in its wake. (Photo: NASA – National Aeronautics and Space Administration/Facebook)

SYDNEY—Tropical Cyclone Debbie ravaged the northeastern state of Queensland on Tuesday, leaving a trail of destruction, and ongoing concerns on Wednesday, in its wake.

Many of the nation’s top tourist attractions were hit by winds clocked at over 260 km per hour, with over 200 tourists and 50 to 60 staff still on Daydream Island stranded and running low on supplies, while Hayman Island has yet to be contacted.

The Daydream Island Resort and Spa said in a statement on Wednesday, their island which is 1400 km north of Brisbane, and owned by the China Capital Investment Group, had experienced the worst of the cyclone.

“Conditions were extreme with heavy rainfall and strong wind gusts causing damage to the resort and surrounds,” they said.

“The resort’s priority at the moment is the ongoing safety of on-island guests and staff who will need to be taken off island as soon as practical.”

While the resort islands were hit by some of the hardest conditions of the cyclone, the mainland was also struck, with over 48 thousand homes losing power across the state overnight, and scores of homes left damaged.

The mayor of the city of Bowen, Andrew Wilcox described the aftermath in his town as a “war zone”, with powerlines ripped from the ground due to the severe weather conditions.

The worst has now passed on Wednesday, with the cyclone now being downgraded to a tropical low, but winds of between 50 to 120 km are still expected, while many seek to bunker down before repairing damage from the cyclone dubbed as a “catastrophe” by insurance companies.

Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm has called on the people of his state to remain safe and be vigilant, despite the downgrading of the cyclone.

“I wanted to let Queenslanders know that the thoughts of all senators are with the people of the affected areas from tropical Cyclone Debbie this morning,” Chisholm said.

“There are still risks around, particularly with flooding. So I urge people to listen to the authorities and make sure they stay safe.”