Australia

Cyclone Debbie: Baby born amid storm 'safe and dry'

Billiana with her parents and the paramedics who delivered her Image copyright Queensland Ambulance Service
Image caption Billiana was born amid cyclonic winds in Australia

As Cyclone Debbie bore down on Australia, one family was distracted with a more urgent arrival - their newborn daughter.

The girl, Billiana, was born about 04:20 local time.

She was delivered in an ambulance station in Cannonvale, Queensland, a town hit hard by the category four storm.

"Mum and bub safe & dry," wrote Queensland Ambulance Service in a tweet announcing Billiana's arrival.

The cyclone had made it impossible to reach a hospital, said Queensland ambulance officer David Hartley.

"Unfortunately there were a lot of road closures going on in the area, so we transported the lady back to the ambulance station where she delivered a healthy baby girl," he said on the local Nine Network.

Mr Hartley said it was fortunate paramedics could reach the woman.

Only hours earlier, Cyclone Debbie had made landfall nearby after generating winds of up to 263km/h (163 mph).

Billiana's birth was widely celebrated in a state that has felt under siege in recent days.

Image copyright @ASmolShai
Image copyright @camerondickqld

'Little miracle'

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk gave her best wishes to Billiana's parents, who have not been named.

"You know, out of all of this, to see a little miracle, I think brings a smile to a lot of faces," Ms Palaszczuk said at a press conference.

"Especially to all those people who have been working so hard overnight."

Cameron Dick, the minister overseeing Queensland's ambulance service, said Billiana was delivered by a graduate paramedic.

Image copyright Queensland Ambulance Service
Image caption Billiana was delivered by a graduate paramedic, named only as Pam

Paramedics said it was hoped the family could move to a hospital later on Wednesday.