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Tropical Cyclone Megan forces suspension of evacuation efforts

Hundreds of residents of remote northern Australia have been left stranded after Tropical Cyclone Megan forced the suspension of evacuation efforts.

Tropical Cyclone Megan made landfall in the northeast of Australia’s Northern Territory (NT) on Monday afternoon as a category 3 storm, bringing with it wind speeds of up to 200 km per hour and heavy rainfall.

Earlier on Monday air evacuations from nearby towns being led by the Australian Defense Force (ADF) were suspended due to deteriorating weather conditions.

Evacuation efforts, which focused on the town of Borroloola approximately 50 km inland from where the cyclone made landfall and over 700 km southeast of Darwin, began on Monday morning but were called off because Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) aircraft were unable to land safely.

It left 700 people trapped in the region as the cyclone approaches, with power cut off and residents urged to conserve batteries.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, NT’s Chief Minister Eva Lawler said there were up to 71 buildings in Borroloola rated to withstand a category 3 cyclone that remaining residents could shelter in, including the police station, health center and homes.

“We’re working with the local emergency management team to keep the community safe,” she said.

“There are enough buildings in Borroloola that are rated to withstand a category 3 cyclone to keep the community safe.”

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued flood warnings across the northeast of the NT with up to 300 millimeters of rain expected but has said that large-scale destruction is unlikely.

Famagusta Gazette