(Bloomberg) -- A huge clean-up operation is under way inthe Australian state of Queensland after a powerful cyclone sweptthrough the region, tearing roofs off buildings, downing trees and forcing tourists to bunkerdown at luxury island resorts.

The Whitsunday Islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reefsuffered “substantial damage” when Cyclone Debbie swept throughyesterday, and roads have been cut off around coastal towns, statePremier Annastacia Palaszczuk told ABC television Wednesday. AndrewWillcox, a regional mayor, told the broadcaster the town of Bowenlooks “like a war zone.”

Flooding expected

Severe weather warnings remain in place even after Debbie wasdowngraded to a tropical low overnight as it moved inland, withdamaging wind and heavy rain expected to cause flooding, accordingto the Bureau of Meteorology. The storm halted at least 20 percentof coal output from the biggest producing basin in Queensland, withBHP Billiton Ltd. and Glencore Plc suspending operations.

Continue Reading for Free

Register and gain access to:

  • Breaking insurance news and analysis, on-site and via our newsletters and custom alerts
  • Weekly Insurance Speak podcast featuring exclusive interviews with industry leaders
  • Educational webcasts, white papers, and ebooks from industry thought leaders
  • Critical converage of the employee benefits and financial advisory markets on our other ALM sites, BenefitsPRO and ThinkAdvisor

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.