MACKAY, Australia (AFP) – Australian officials on Sunday said all efforts were being made to help those affected by tropical Cyclone Marcia which smashed through Queensland state leaving 1,500 homes damaged and thousands without electricity.
Marcia was one of two fierce cyclones which hit northern Australia within hours on Friday, with the first Tropical Cyclone Lam which hit remote communities in the Northern Territory near Elcho Island, some 500 kilometres east of Darwin.
Marcia, a maximum category five storm, tore through eastern Queensland, badly affecting Yeppoon, about 670 kilometres north of the capital Brisbane, before heading south to Rockhampton.
“We’ve had assessments of over 1,500 houses that have had some kind of structural damage,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
“In Yeppoon and Rockhampton around 100 are severely impacted… people can’t go back into their homes. Our fundamental priority now is on those families who have been the most severely impacted.”
As the clean-up gathered pace, electricity and telephone companies were working to restore power and communications.
“There are over 1,800 (power) lines down. This is absolutely significant, and we are doing everything we possible can to restore power,” Palaszczuk said.
The government has committed army reservists to help with the clean up in Yeppoon, as well as disaster relief funding to those affected in Queensland.
“The power of the cyclone is evident everywhere, the destruction of the vegetation is extraordinary, obviously a lot of buildings have been severely damaged,” Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said.
Despite the destruction, authorities have so far not received reports of serious injuries or deaths but residents have spoken of the terror of the storm.