Target Australia apologise for charging $72 (£44) for water in aftermath of Cyclone Debbie

Australian authorities announce at least three people have died

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Target have been accused of exploiting Queensland's clean water shortage in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, which has left at least three people dead. 

A picture shared online showed the Target store in Bowen, Queensland, selling 24 600ml water bottles for $72 (£44).

Natalie Maher posted to say she thought the price was a mistake but was informed by a staff member it was the correct price.

Cyclone Debbie batters Queensland

"Talk about price gaugeing us while we are in need," she wrote. "Disgusting mongrels. 

"I had only just left the disaster recovery people with lifeline there who gave me 12 bottles of water to bring home so we have clean drinking water and Target are pulling this stunt."

She added: "I will refuse to shop at Target from now on.

"Please share this post and shame them. Its out right disgusting and so wrong to say the least."

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A boat is washed ashore at Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia (EPA)

The water is usually sold for $3 per 600ml bottle, Target Australia told Daily Mail Australia on Sunday, but they have now revised the price.

"Due to the water shortage situation at Bowen we have reduced that price to $1 per bottle," a spokesperson told the paper.

"We again apologise for any misunderstanding and the team at our Bowen store will continue to support the local community during these difficult times in anyway they can."

Tens of thousands of Australians were stranded by floodwaters after the remnants of a powerful cyclone swept along the country's east coast, cutting roads, destroying bridges and killing at least three people.

Receding waters are beginning to reveal the human and economic cost of the storm.

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Photo shows a natural colour image captured by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer on NASA's Aqua satellite of Cyclone Debbie approaching the coast of Queensland (AFP/Getty)

Australian authorities announced they found the body of 77-year-old Nelson Raebel was found in floodwaters in Queensland.

They are still searching for another three people who remain missing in flood-hit areas of Queensland.

The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the event a catastrophe, which could cost hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

Photos taken by emergency services in the town of Lismore, in New South Wales, show businesses in the town centre inundated with brown water.

Several large rivers in New South Wales that had reached major flood levels were receding, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.

But evacuation orders were still in place for a number of townships in the state’s north, while the city of Rockhampton in Queensland braced for record-level flooding next week, as water moves downstream into the Fitzroy River catchment.

Cyclone Debbie, a category four storm, one short of the most powerful level five, pounded Queensland state on Tuesday, smashing tourist resorts, bringing down power lines and shutting down coal mines.

Australia’s Defence Force was deployed to help deliver medical personnel and supplies to communities in the north of the state.

Debbie will hit Australia’s $1.7 trillion (£1 trillion) economy, with economists estimating it will slow growth to under 2 per cent in the first quarter.

Additional reporting by agencies

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