Their job starts when the rain’s forcing its way through the cracks, the house is shuddering under slamming gusts of wind and it’s impossible to see your hand in front of your face. They are the familiar voices on the portable radio giving comfort and reassurance through the black of the night. As dawn breaks and we emerge onto the street those same voices provide information, encouragement and sympathy.
Long after the national media spotlight moves, taking with it the travelling roadshow of politicians, local ABC radio remains. Since Cyclone Yasi swept through North Queensland, the guys from ABC Far North have been on the road talking to people in the worst hit areas south of Cairns. Those conversations have left me with tears streaming down my cheeks as I listen to the despair, the sorrow, the anger of loss in the residents’ voices as well as the flashes of laconic humour. I don’t know how Fiona Sewell, Richard Dinnen and Kier Shorey, Sharon Molloy and Jason Hagen do their job and stay so composed. I’d be in an empathetic flood of tears.
Clicking away at my keyboard, it’s easy to take the mobile phone and internet for granted. Without power, radio is the only way to spread information community wide and they’ve done an amazing job of doing just that.
Thanks ABC Far North.