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Another cyclone? Oh no! Not again!

Another cyclone? Oh no! Not again!

Illustration: Courtesy Brisbane Courier Mail

Well it’s Cyclone season again! So far this year, Australia has experienced Cyclone Bianca, Cyclone Anthony and only just this week, the worst cyclone seen in years –  Cyclone Yasi. This cyclone brought destruction to Innisfail, Mission Beach, Cardwell, Tully and surrounding communities.

Having been born in Innisfail and growing up on a sugar cane farm in Japoonvale, a tiny sugar cane farming community just inland from Innisfail, North Queensland, dodging cyclones, floods and bad weather was a normal part of life for my family.

I still have a personal attachment to Innisfail and Ingham, as my uncles, aunties, godparents and many cousins I grew up with, still live there. When Cyclone Larry hit Innisfail five years ago, my godparents were still living on the farm in Japoonvale, and thankfully, did not experience any serious damage to their home. The sugar cane crops however did not survive.

Who would have thought Innisfail would endure another cyclone so soon after Cyclone Larry.

The Japoonvale farm has since been sold and my godparents moved to a newly built home in Innisfail. North Queensland’s strict building codes ensure all new homes are built strong enough to endure the strongest of cyclones. My godfather was not taking any risks, so the house was built with much stronger reinforcements than was legally required.

I spoke with my godmother on Tuesday to ask how they were coping with the news of the approaching Cyclone Yasi. Although they were getting understandably anxious, they were calm, checking their roof, clearing their yard of anything that was likely to fly away, and even pulled down their greenhouse to bring all their precious pot plants into safety inside their house. I checked on them again about an hour before the cyclone hit. They were very well prepared, fairly confident, with just a hint of fear as this cyclone was an “unknown” and they were unsure of just how much damage it was really capable of causing.

I sent my cousin a text at 5.00am after the cyclone had passed, to ask how they were as their phones and power were down. His response was “Wind still blowing strong. Still dark inside and outside. No damage inside our house. Cannot see what damage outside. Vegetation demolished”

I found out later that all was well and the house survived. Previous Cyclone Larry had helped them prepare well for Yasi and any future cyclones that may happen to visit Innisfail again!

Yours in Cyclonic Weather


Belinda Vesey-Brown About the author
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