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Cyclone Debbie Hits North-East Australia

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Cyclone Debbie has hit the north-east Australian coast, causing major damage, torrential rain and power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

The powerful cyclone made landfall between Bowen and Airlie Beach in Queensland as a Category 4 storm, whipping gusts of up to 163 mph.

Debbie is moving inland as a Category 3 storm but could cause damage for hours yet. One serious injury has been reported.

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull told parliament he had activated a disaster response plan.

The extent of Cyclone Debbie’s devastation, which has a 30 mile-diameter eye wall, may not be known for some time, authorities said.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said the storm’s slow speed had created a “battering ram effect”, adding: “We are going to get lots of reports of damage, and sadly I think we will also receive reports of injuries, if not death.”

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said assessing damage was difficult because communities had been cut off from power and phone reception.

Electricity providers said it was not known when power would be restored to houses.

Australian authorities warned people to stay indoors until it was safe to go outside.

 

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