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Australia Storms Kill One

March 10, 2001

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Powerful storms battered parts of eastern Australia for a third day Saturday, flooding towns, leaving thousands without electricity and claiming at least one life.

Parts of New South Wales and Queensland states were declared flood disaster areas as strong winds ripped roofs off houses, blocked roads with toppled trees and cut electrical and telephone services.

A 12-year-old boy was killed late Friday when a car was swept off the road by a fierce storm in Queensland, police said. The boy’s mother, who was driving, escaped, they said.

Several people swept away by floodwaters were rescued, including two motorists found clinging to the tops of flooded cars.

Hundreds of emergency workers were deployed to evacuate people and battle the floods.

At least 1,500 people were evacuated from their flooded homes in New South Wales by emergency workers using boats and helicopters. Supplies were flown by helicopter to remote settlements cut off by the floods.

In Queensland, some 29,000 homes lost electricity when power lines were knocked down. Thousands of people in New South Wales also lost power.

Floodwaters were still rising in parts of New South Wales as rivers rushed over their banks. People were warned to pack essential possessions and be ready to abandon their homes at any time.

Residents erected barriers of sandbags to try to hold back floodwaters in several towns, but the water had broken through in some areas, officials said.

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