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Destructive thunderstorms hit Australia’s east coast, leaving 10 fatalities

Destructive storms hit east coast of Australia, leaving 10 fatalities and widespread damage

Ten people have lost their lives in a series of storm and water-related incidents across Australia, spanning from Queensland to Victoria, as severe thunderstorms battered the east coast from December 24 – 26, 2023.

Ten people have lost their lives in various storm and water-related tragedies as severe weather conditions ravaged the east coast of Australia from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day. The devastating events spread across the region, from Queensland to Victoria, leading to a toll of lives lost and significant damage to homes and businesses.

In Queensland, a particularly harrowing incident occurred on Boxing Day when a large boat carrying 11 people capsized near Brisbane, just south of Green Island in Moreton Bay. Despite the rescue efforts that saved eight individuals, three men, aged 48, 69, and 59, were found deceased in the water.

The string of tragedies in Queensland continued, including two women who lost their lives at Mary River near Gympie after being swept away in a storm drain, and a 9-year-old girl who died in floods at Logan. Additionally, a falling tree claimed the life of a woman on the Gold Coast on Christmas Day.

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Premier Steven Miles addressed the state, acknowledging the tragic toll of the storm and emphasizing the ongoing efforts in response, including repairing 900 damaged power lines and restoring electricity to 25 000 houses. However, tens of thousands remain without power. The Premier also noted the activation of disaster hardship funding for Gold Coast residents and projected that the damage costs from the recent floods and storms would escalate into billions.

Further south, in Victoria, the severe weather claimed more lives. A man succumbed to injuries from a falling tree on Boxing Day, and a woman died in floodwaters at a Buchan campsite. While the weather emergency peaked overnight, with widespread flooding continuing, authorities remain vigilant with watch and act warnings in place for areas like Avoca River to Charlton Town and initial minor flood warnings issued for several rivers.

In New South Wales, the tumultuous weather persists with a supercell sweeping across the region, bringing squally winds, rain, and hail.

The State Emergency Service (SES) has been actively responding to over 1 217 incidents with their 1 000 volunteers, tackling challenges ranging from flood rescues to hail-damaged properties.

More than 90 000 homes are still without power.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the wild weather was expected to ease later on Wednesday, December 27.

References:

1 Nine lives lost in Christmas and Boxing Day storm tragedies – 9News – December 27, 2023

2 Ten dead in Australia thunderstorms, thousands without power – Reuters – December 27, 2023

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