At least 10 people, including a nine-year-old child, have died over Christmas and Boxing Day following severe thunderstorms in eastern Australia.
Queensland suffered the worst of the storms and saw more people dead than other parts of the country, with tens of thousands of people having lost access to electricity.
New South Wales and Victoria were also badly hit by widespread flooding and destructive winds. These winds have caused mass destruction across several parts of eastern Australia, resulting in felled trees, roofs torn from houses, and electricity poles ripped from the ground.
The latest storms have shocked residents as they claim they haven’t witnessed conditions so severe in over 20 years. This comes just weeks after Cyclone Jasper inundated Queensland with heavy rain and floods.
Queensland premier Steven Miles called the storms "unprecedented" after a concrete power pole was destroyed, something he had never seen happen.
"Our focus is on the immediate response and making homes and businesses safe," said Miles.
These disasters follow a series of heatwaves, which resulted in bushfires in New South Wales and other states.
Australia is currently undergoing an El Nino weather event, which can cause extreme weather conditions ranging from wildfires to tropical cyclones and prolonged droughts.
Though more storms have been forecast, conditions are expected to improve in the coming days.
Among the 10 people killed by the storms was nine-year-old Mia Holland-McCormack, whose body was found in a flooded storm drain not long after she went missing.
Two women were found dead after being swept away by floodwaters into storm drains north of Brisbane, while falling trees killed two others.
Three men drowned after a yacht carrying 11 men capsized off the coast of Brisbane. Eight people had to be rescued from the water after nearly drowning.
A man and woman who are thought to have been camping have also been found dead in Victoria’s Gippsland region.
Australia has been plagued by several natural disasters in recent years. Dr. Simon Bradshaw, research director at the Climate Council, claims this is the result of climate change.
“When you start to piece together the experiences of this summer so far it is clear that we are living through an era of escalating climate consequences,” Bradshaw told the Reuters news agency.
The latest UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warns a future of worsening disasters is likely unless urgent action is taken to halt climate change.
Edited By: Josh Reidelbach
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