Life goes on. If we use Cyclone Larry as a yardstick then we can expect Yasi’s clean up to take longer than five years.
During Larry’s aftermath the authorities had to build temporary accommodation to house all the tradesmen required to put Innisfail back together again. This time round the damage is more widespread and that will be harder to do. There’s also the issue of finding a tradie willing to live and work up here. Cairns has already seen a mass exodus of workmen heading to south east Queensland to work in areas hit by flooding.
Then there’s the size of this one. I haven’t seen any reports of damage on the Tablelands yet, but I can’t contact friends who live up in beautiful little villages to the west of the region were Yasi made landfall. At a higher elevation that area may well have sustained worse damage than the coast, as it did with Larry, but the media spotlight is selective about where it shines.
The phone lines have been intermittent all day today. Apparently a lot of the phone towers and exchanges were running on generator power and have now run out of fuel. Some of those are only accessible by four-wheel drive, or indeed helicopters, so topping up the tank isn’t a matter of popping round with the jerry-can…
We had friends round for roast lamb last night. It felt good to sit in clean dry clothes and have a glass of wine. More importantly it felt wonderful to finally find the time to laugh at the last few days. It was cathartic. My employer has organised counsellors for people needing to talk about their experience. My husband couldn’t quite see the need. I can – I figured we’d had our own counselling session over dinner.
If you have family and friends in areas that have been hit by Yasi give them a call and let them talk. If this is the first cyclone they’ve been through they would have been apprehensive going into and they may well be euphoric now they’ve survived unscathed. But there’s a whole gambit of emotions that goes with watching other people’s misfortune and knowing how easily it could have been different – guilt, sorrow, a feeling of helplessness. It can weigh heavily.
So, pick up the phone and talk to them – it’s the Australian way.