At least 4 missing after powerful Australia cyclone

At least four people are missing and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes Saturday after a powerful cyclone ripped through Australia’s northeast coast.

Rescue workers continue to scour devastated areas of Australia after a massive cyclone. Some are comparing the devastation to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Photo courtesy New South Wales authorities
Rescue workers continue to scour devastated areas of Australia after a massive cyclone. Some are comparing the devastation to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Photo courtesy New South Wales authorities

Officials said the rising floodwaters are putting even more at risk, and some 100,000 people are without power after Cyclone Debbie, a category 4 storm with at least 160 mph winds, ripped through the area on Tuesday. Six large rivers in a 600-mile area in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland hit flood levels.

Some compared the devastation to that caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“We currently have four people missing about whom we have serious concerns and have deployed significant resources of emergency services to search for those persons,” Stephen Gollschewski, Queensland State Disaster coordinator deputy commissioner, said.

The financial blow from storm damage could top $1 billion, experts said. The sugar cane and horticulture industries forecast damages and losses in excess of $500 million.

The storm also caused damage to the Great Barrier Reef.

By Amy R. Connolly