FEBRUARY 15, 2013 | AUSTRALIA
SYDNEY—Devastating floods inundated eastern Australia as the remains of Tropical Cyclone Oswald brought tornadoes, damaging surf, and torrential rain to Queensland and northern New South Wales. At least four people have died, and over 1,000 have been evacuated from their homes. The city of Bundaberg, on Queensland’s central coast, was hit especially hard as the storm triggered not only some of the worst flooding in over a century but also five tornadoes.
The branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Sydney reports that no Witnesses have been killed or injured. However, at least 53 homes of Witnesses in Bundaberg were damaged, leaving over 70 homeless. Those displaced, some of whom were rescued by helicopter, are being accommodated by neighbors or fellow Witnesses in the area.
Local Witness elders formed a disaster relief committee to organize the relief efforts. In the Bundaberg region, upwards of 250 Witnesses also volunteered to assist, some even traveling from over 100 miles away to help the victims.
International: J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5000
Australia: Donald MacLean, tel. +61 2 9829 5600