ROCKHAMPTON, Australia, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Australia is deploying troops to assist the eastern state of Queensland after a cyclone tore through on Friday, causing massive damage to coastal areas.
Cyclone Marcia, a category five storm with 177 mph winds, moved across Australia's coast near Shoalwater Bay late last week, damaging 1,500 homes in the towns of Rockhampton and Yeppoon, where 100 families have been made homeless and up to 50,000 businesses and residential properties remain without power.
Queensland Energy Minister Mark Bailey said restoring power could take a week or more due to the extent of damage.
The army is still reportedly awaiting word on how many troops will be required for operations in Rockhampton and Yeppoon, but the BBC reports hundreds of soldiers and army engineers are already engaging in clean-up efforts in parts of Queensland.
In January 2013, Australian troops were deployed to assist the flood-ravaged city of Bundaberg and other regions of Queensland and New South Wales.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that 500 residents in the small town of Byfield, which was directly hit by the storm, lack power, water or phone services as clean-up efforts are focused on nearby Rockhampton and Yeppoon.
"(The town) seems to be forgotten in this part of the world, even though it was the first part that was actually hit in this storm," witness Peter Rose told the Herald.
Authorities in Queensland have so far reported one case of looting, and residents were warned to beware of snakes, crocodiles and contaminated water.
Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Lam, a separate storm with 124 mph winds, touched down in Australia's Northern Territory, where a state of emergency was declared Friday.
As of Sunday no serious injuries were reported in Queensland or the Northern Territory.