Pick up the phone

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. ย 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. ย It can weigh heavily.

So, pick up the phone and talk to them – it’s the Australian way.


18 thoughts on “Pick up the phone

  1. Cathy, it sounds like evacuating is almost as fraught as staying put! We spoke to one of our elderly neighbours who was evacuated before Yasi and she’s still feeling very shaken by the experience..

    Sandy, how right you are. One sides in flood as the other sides being torched…

    Thanks for the news on Bernadette. I still haven’t found out if Barb Hannay and two other friends are ok up Ravenshoe way…

  2. Cathy, if only we could send some of your water over to Perth, I’m sure they’d appreciate a few well filled fire-bombers at the moment.

    Helene, just got an email back from Bernadette R. They have no power, but do have a generator running small appliances. Dodgy water though.

  3. It is really going to be a pain evacuating Kooweerup. There is one minor road that goes through the town. Once off that road you are on the South Gipplsand Highway, BUt and here is the big but. To the west, the road runs trhough tidal swamp, which is flooding, and to the East it runs into Gippsland, and eventually the Prince’s Highway, which is flooding and being evacuated. The RAAF will be able to help, they have a base at East Sale, and our Army reserve guys will be out in full strenght too.

  4. Yasi missed us, but we are evacuating 6000 people in Gippsland beacuse of floods from the downpour. The small town of Kooeweerup, where I did some nursing clinicals is being evacauted–it sits on the edge of a tidal swamp. The hospital ( now an old people’s home) where I did my surgical roatation is expected to be inundated

  5. Suzanne, we had dinner with another group of friends last night and you could almost feel the tension leave them as they talked about.

    And you heard the ABC interviews! Yay – it felt very weird chatting to Angela in the middle of it all… I’m going to put a post up about the whole media angle this morning.

  6. Hi Suzanne, if you enjoyed the ABC interview, then you should have a look at the piece Helene had in the AGE today http://www.theage.com.au/execute_search.html?text=Helene+Young&ss=Environment (complete with picture). Its a very graphic account of what it was like, living through Yasi. (I’m logging off now before she finds out what I’ve been putting on her blog)….

  7. I agree Helene. I strongly believe people should talk about their experiences, vent their concerns. It’s the only way to overcome those emotios that weigh people down. It would be tough in some cases, but it will help. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Glad you enjoyed your dinner and wine. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Good news for your folks, Sandy. I haven’t seen Bernadette pop up on our e-loop yet but she may well still be without power…

    Hi Cathy, I didn’t have a Miss Watson, but I still can’t type without errors…

    Sounds like you guys got more from Anthony than we did – it was a non-event up here. If Yasi is getting there this evening, it will be a different night altogether. I hope the St Kilda library didn’t have anything important in their basement!

  9. We got hit by the tail end of Anthony yesterday, Yasi due this evening./ Little wind, but torrential rain, our back drive floodesd, so did Burne Court, behind our flats Istill full). The water was cascading down College Parade, outsied our place, and forming a bow wave around our 2000 Falcon Forte (which, amazingly started Ok and did not leak)

    Glenferrien Road, Hawthorn shops flooded. St. Kilda libarary basement ditto, alos some dress shops in St. Kilda ( water damage sale anyone) and Baker’s delight in Hawthorn.

    Lots od debris on the road, and many new potholes.

    Great lightning apparentl;y but I took a sleeping pill, and I wear an eyemask to sleep so I slet through it.

    How are you going?

  10. Good grief! Poor old Victoria is copping it now.

    Just spoke to Ma and Pa, they got their power back on last night, so all good there. I’m going to try and send Bernadette an email – make sure she’s OK.

  11. Sandy, I hope they’re all ok. The power is reportedly going to take a long while to restore in some areas…. We had a friend drop her mobile phone around so we could charge it for her.

    Good that your parents have your brother and his family close by.


  12. It’s funny, when I read that you and G were sitting amidst the devastation having roast lamb with some mates, I thought ‘that’s sooo Australian.’

    I talked to my Mum and Dad day before yesterday, but couldn’t get through yesterday, shall have another go today. Unfortunately their power is still out so Skype is a no go. ๐Ÿ™ My brother’s up there with my neice and nephew so they’ve got the family support.

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