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Climate crisis – floods, lightning and bushfires in extreme weather in Australia

Canberra Earlier this year, Australia was once again battling extreme weather events. After devastating rains, parts of the Kimberley region in the country’s north-west resemble a giant lake. The Fitzroy Crossing community of 1,500 people and about 50 outlying communities of Aboriginal people will be accessible by land again for several weeks, Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said on Australian radio on Thursday.

The city of Derby, home to 3,000 people, is now under complete isolation. Officials had earlier spoken of a flood of the century in the region. The bases of Cyclone Ellie are responsible. Rain should only move north on Friday. Watt announced that the government would send the army to help those living in the affected areas. Due to extremely high water levels, power was cut to the entire area as a precaution, ABC Broadcasting reported, citing operator Horizon Power.

Over 200,000 flashes overnight

Flooding is also affecting supplies across Western Australia. The Great Northern Highway, which connects the metropolis of Perth with the northern port city of Wyndham, is impassable in both directions. The expressway is the only transport route to the north. Australian news agency AAP reported that a bridge near the Fitzroy Crossing was severely damaged by water, with 700 kilometers closed. Repairs can take months.

There have been reports of extreme weather events from other parts of the country: a storm hit Queensland on the east coast on Thursday night, during which more than 200,000 lightning strikes were reported by the media. Broadcaster 9News spoke of a “spectacular light show” – with consequences: Thousands of people north of Brisbane were without power on Thursday.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change often warns of extreme weather events

On the other hand, in the southwest of the state of Western Australia, people were fleeing bushfires. The fire spread to towns around Newlands, about 220 kilometers south of Perth. Officials warned that the fire was “unpredictable and out of control”. However, emergency services have reported that the fire activity has decreased during the day.

Road flooded at Fitzroy Crossing (Australia) on January 3, 2023.

– © Reuters / Callum Lamond

Last year saw a repeat of flooding and record heat downtown. Australia is particularly affected by the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report from February 2022 assumes that the country will be affected by catastrophic natural events more frequently in the future. (apa/dpa)