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The Perils of Perth

Last week, I came across this story, which made me laugh.

Australian diplomats were left red-faced Thursday after mistakenly warning that the world’s most isolated city, laid-back Perth in Western Australia, “is dangerous at this time of year.”

 

The warning was sent in a test email to media, travel agencies and subscribers to the Australian government’s travel warning service, which warns of the dangers of travel to places like Baghdad and East Timor.

 

“This is a message to let you know that Perth is dangerous at this time of year. XXX,” the email said.

 

The Department of Foreign Affairs Web Site manager, Alan Walsh, apologized for the email, which he said was sent by an external contractor who was testing a new email system.

Anyone who knows Perth would also find this extremely humorous. It is one of the most relaxed, safest-feeling cities you will ever encounter. Or, as the story states:

The Rough Guide to Australia says Perth’s 1.3 million people enjoy a laid-back lifestyle in a city which lacks charisma but has a reputation for sunshine and low urban crime.

Well, that was last week. Now who’s laughing?

A ferocious storm has ripped through the south-west of Western Australia, with severe winds and torrential rain closing roads, damaging buildings, felling trees, bringing down power lines and closing schools.

 

Although no injuries have been reported, hundreds of State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers have been called out to incidents across Perth and further south, with thousands of residents waking up to severe damage.

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Bicton, 15km south of Perth, was also battered, with the suburb’s primary school badly affected, losing six roofs from buildings and suffering damage which could take weeks to repair.

 

SES spokeswoman Nita Gill said there had been calls to 500 incidents across the city, with 150 volunteers from all 16 units asked to help.

 

The main problems were fallen power lines, trees across roads and fallen into roofs, and collapsed ceilings. A further 150 SES volunteers had been called out in the south-west region, Ms Gill said.

 

Perth’s main roads were also severely affected, with a crane left in danger of toppling onto a highway, as well as debris, blacked out traffic lights and flooded suburban thoroughfares banking up traffic.

 

Main Roads WA traffic operations centre engineer Bob Manhood said the Canning Highway was closed south of Canning Bridge as authorities dealt with the crane, which threatened to topple from a hotel redevelopment site.

 

Meanwhile, southbound traffic was banked up for 15km on the Mitchell Freeway following a three-car accident at a city exit about 6.30am (WST) which put two people in hospital.

 

A police spokesman said there had been numerous serious crashes throughout the morning but it was not possible to provide exact figures.

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Bureau of Meteorology WA duty forecaster Noel Puzey said a cold front embedded with a line of severe thunderstorms swept across the state’s south-western coastline about 6am (WST).

 

Wind gusts peaked at 142kph at Rottnest Island, just off the coast of Perth, and reached 100kph in Perth suburbs.

Maybe they really should be sending out that travel warning after all.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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