Cyclone Debbie

Cyclone Debbie

On the 28th of March, 2017; Cyclone Debbie hit the north-east coast of Australia. It is being classified as a category 4 cyclone. Continuous winds of 185 kmph (114 mph) with gusts..

How is Australia dealing with one of the storms of the century?

On the 28th of March, 2017; Cyclone Debbie hit the north-east coast of Australia. It is being classified as a category 4 cyclone. Continuous winds of 185 kmph (114 mph) with gusts reaching more than 262 kmph (163 mph) are being estimated. The Bureau of Meteorology has called the cyclone a catastrophe. 

What are the characteristics of the cyclone?

  • The cyclone brings with it thunder, torrential rain, blistering winds, uprooting of trees, damages to housing and power cuts all across the coast. It also has made over 25,000 Australians flee their homes in fears of getting struck by floods or natural disasters. More than 50,000 people have been stranded without power.
  • The cyclone has hit the province of Queensland and the most amount of damage will be caused in the province, it will slowly decline in velocity as it moves inland. But it will not stop bringing torrential rain nor floods to the state.
  • The cyclone will over the next few hours move down from a stage 4 cyclone to a stage 3, and meteorologists see this continuing until it dissipates. The region is estimated to receive an unprecedented 150-500mm of rain during the cyclones inland journey with many low level areas being susceptible to floods. The cyclone also went through the Great Barrier Reef and it remains to be seen what damage has been done to it.

What is the Australian government doing?

  • Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull addressed the Australian Senate and said he had activated the emergency disaster plan.
  • He has put the HMAS Choules, a landing ship with helicopters and medical personnel to the area, as were air force airlift crafts.
  • Brigadier Christopher Field has been deployed to Queensland to lead rescue efforts as fears of casualties and injuries are rising.
  • Turnbull travelled to meet the heads of the province and has said he will work closely with the provincial administration to aid efforts against the cyclone.
  • More than 2,000 emergency workers are on standby, but people have been warned crews will only respond when it is safe to do so.

Assessment

The cyclone will dissipate in the next 3-4 days but concerns are being raised over the damage it will cause. The last cyclone to hit Australia in 2011 cost the central government over a billion Australian dollars in repairs. With Turnbull’s government under fire from the Labor party and recently pulling their extradition treaty with China, one of their main benefactors, it will prove to be a tumultuous few months for the government. As for the people, the cyclone was an unforeseen natural disaster but the evacuations went to plan and many have fled. For those who remained, trapped by the vicious storm, the coast guard and naval deployment can aid them to the best of their abilities but injuries and casualties are unavoidable.

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