Daily News

Evacuation for cyclone Debbie

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SYDNEY: Thousands of people have been evacuated from coastal towns in northern Queensland, including the tourist destinatio­n of Whitsunday islands, as Australian authoritie­s brace for a category-four cyclone.

Cyclone Debbie is expected to reach the north-eastern Australian state tomorrow morning with destructiv­e wind gusts of up to 240km/h.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pleaded with the residents to comply with evacuation orders, saying “the window of opportunit­y to leave is drasticall­y closing.”

“For those in the path of Cyclone Debbie, please take care and stay safe. If you have received an official evacuation order, you and your family must leave immediatel­y.”

If Debbie coincides with the high tide, predicted in the area around the same time, the storm surge is expected to cause significan­t inundation, along with very heavy rainfall.

Queensland’s Police Commission­er Ian Stewart said one tourist had died in a traffic crash “associated with the weather event” after two vehicles collided in the windswept Whitsunday islands today. – ANA-DPA

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