Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 20 September 2020

Storm kills three and knocks out power in Melbourne

Strong winds lashed the south-east Australian city on Thursday

Workers remove a fallen tree that struck and killed a 4-year-old boy during a storm in Melbourne, Australia on August 27, 2020. AAP Image via AP
Workers remove a fallen tree that struck and killed a 4-year-old boy during a storm in Melbourne, Australia on August 27, 2020. AAP Image via AP

A wild storm that hit Australia's second-largest city knocked out power to 56,000 homes, contaminated the water supply and felled trees that killed three people.

A 4-year-old boy was struck by a tree Thursday evening and died later in hospital, police said, as Melbourne was lashed by wind speeds up to 158 kilometres per hour.

A 59-year-old man was killed when a falling tree crushed the car he was driving. And another tree hit a pickup truck on a highway, killing a 36-year-old woman passenger. The 24-year-old male driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries, officials said.

About 56,000 homes lost power, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said. Power was expected to be restored to all by Friday afternoon.

The power failure caused disruptions at a water purification plant. Residents in 88 of Melbourne's 523 suburbs were advised to boil their drinking water until further notice.

Melbourne is Australia's coronavirus hot spot and is under lockdown for six weeks.

Mr Andrews said restrictions would be relaxed so that residents could respond to the storm's aftermath.

“We know and understand this is unique and we don’t want those coronavirus rules to make it any harder, but we just have to find that balance point and I am confident that we can,” he said.

Emergency services received more than 1,700 calls for help.

Updated: August 28, 2020 12:12 PM

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