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Australia storm death toll rises to 9

Sydney, Australia, Dec 27 (EFE).- The death toll due to severe storms that battered eastern Australia over the Christmas holidays rose to nine, officials said on Wednesday.

Police in the northeastern state of Queensland, one of the worst hit states, reported the death of a nine-year-old girl who was swept away by a flood on the outskirts of the state’s capital Brisbane.

On Tuesday, the authorities recovered the body of another victim who was killed when his boat capsized near Green Island, north of Brisbane.

The man was traveling with 10 other people, eight of whom were saved by rescuers.

On Wednesday, the Queensland Police found two more bodies from the same boat.

Bodies of two women swept away by the floods in Gympie, a town 170 kilometers north of Brisbane, were also found Wednesday, the police said.

Meanwhile, authorities in the southern state of Victoria reported the death of a woman due to powerful storms that swept the city.

Two people were reported dead on Tuesday in Queensland and Victoria after being struck by fallen tree branches.

Torrential rains with wind speeds of up to one hundred kilometers per hour, floods, and hailstorms left over 124,000 people without electricity on Christmas in southern Queensland. Over 90,000 people are still waiting for electricity restoration.

Storms in New South Wales since Sunday have flooded several streets in Sydney, the most populated city in Australia, including the city’s airport, and damaged dozens of houses in the neighborhood.

Last week, dozens of remote Australian communities were left isolated in the far north of Queensland state following flooding caused by Cyclone Jasper.

While the east coast faces heavy rains, the country’s west is battling bushfires due to the drier-than-usual climate caused by the El Nino weather pattern that warms the oceans and increases the likelihood of storms and droughts in certain regions. EFE

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