On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck the north Queensland coastline and nearby islands with wind gusts reaching 260 kilometers per hour (163 mph). The Category 4 cyclone brought down trees, damaged buildings, and smashed boats onto the beaches of the towns along the shore. The remnants of Cyclone Debbie also caused extensive flooding in cities and towns in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, leaving tens of thousands without power.

Initial reports indicate that no Jehovah’s Witnesses were severely injured or killed. However, the cyclone damaged many of the Witnesses’ homes and destroyed one of them. Two Kingdom Hall properties (places of worship) were also damaged.

The branch office of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Australia formed two disaster relief committees to coordinate an emergency response, providing generators, food, and water for victims in the affected areas. Local Witness ministers are also providing spiritual and emotional assistance to their fellow worshippers.

The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses facilitates disaster relief efforts from their world headquarters, using funds donated to the Witnesses’ global ministry work.

Media Contacts:

International: David A. Semonian, Office of Public Information, +1-845-524-3000

Australasia: Rodney Spinks, +61-2-9829-5600