5-speed listening (Mouse Plague - Level 3)

Mouse plague in Australia forces prison to close



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Millions of mice have been creating havoc in Australia. The state of New South Wales is suffering from its worst mouse plague in decades. The mouse population started growing on farms in spring last year because of a bumper wheat harvest. The rodents have been causing farmers a major headache for over a year. The plague has now caused problems for a prison. The Wellington Correctional Centre, about 350km west of Sydney, has been forced to evacuate. Up to 200 staff and 420 prisoners have been transferred to other jails in the region because of health and safety reasons. It will take 10 days for the prison to be cleaned and for repairs to electric cables and woodwork to be carried out.

Mice have been causing damage to buildings throughout the region. Their droppings have become a health hazard that has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up. In addition, they have chewed through electrical wiring, which has become a danger to property and human life. Prisons spokesperson Peter Severin spoke about the cleaning and repair operations at Wellington. He said: "The health, safety and wellbeing of staff and inmates is our number one priority, so it's important for us to act now to carry out the vital repair work....We need to take this step now to ensure the site is thoroughly cleaned and infrastructure is repaired." Staff will also look at ways to protect against plagues in the future.

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