By Will Koulouris
SYDNEY, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Tropical Cyclone Debbie struck the coast of the Australian state of Queensland Tuesday, with rescue and recovery efforts continuing well into Wednesday.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the carnage on local radio on Wednesday, and said it looked as though a "bomb had hit" parts of the Whitsunday Islands and areas in Mackay, in far north Queensland.
Turnbull assured residents and the visitors affected that every measure would be taken to ensure their safety, including assistance from the Australian Defence Force, who will work with local emergency services crews in the afflicted areas.
"Our hearts go out to the people of North Queensland," Turnbull said.
"What we have to do is put in place the preparations to ensure that people get the right advice, that people are protected, that people are evacuated and that we have the servicemen and women; the ADF, the emergency service workers ready to go in as soon as the storm has passed to protect the community and begin the task of reconstruction."
The damage caused by the cyclone was immense, with some of the hardest hit areas being the tourist islands that make up the Whitsundays, including the Chinese owned Daydream Island, and Hamilton Island.
But it was not only the tourism industry that was impacted by the devastation, with farmers now worrying about their crops, after the heavy rain and flooding that came with the cyclone is continuing to threaten their livelihoods.
Over 1000 cane growers fell within the scope of the tropical cyclone, and Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said in a statement that "hundred of hectares" have been flattened, with the full extent of the damage to only be known in the next few days.
CommSec chief economist Craig James said in a note that a quarter of all the sugar produced by Australia, is within the cyclone-affected region.
"Including Herbert-Burdekin, 62 per cent of all sugar produced in Australia comes from cyclone-affected regions with production estimated by Canegrowers at $1.1 billion." James said.
A spokesperson from Canegrowers told Xinhua however, that there should be no impact on sugar exports to China despite the terrible circumstances, as they are sourced from areas north of where the cyclone hit.
As flash flooding continues, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is warning of further major flooding in rivers all the way down to the New South Wales border, with the city of Brisbane set to be hit with a torrent of rain on Thursday.
However, residents are being told by the BOM not to be concerned about the repeat of the 2011 Brisbane River flood, which left the entire city under metres of water, and reassured residents that this is an entirely different set of circumstances.
There are also concerns for the welfare of hospital staff, as they have been working around the clock to care for those that have been affected by the natural disaster.
Queensland Minister for Health, Cameron Dick, said that there will be immediate deployment of 70 extra doctors, nurses and other ancillary staff, to ensure that those that are taking care of others, are taken care of themselves.
"The willingness of our health workers in Townsville to volunteer to pitch in to help their colleagues in their neighbouring health service has been humbling," Dick said.
"The communities and health workers at Bowen, Proserpine and Mackay should know that we stand with them and they will not be left to rebuild and recover alone."
Insurance companies are estimating the total damage bill as a result of the cyclone will likely be in the billions.