The USS Quad Damage

Cyclone Larry

I guess it was appropriate that I talk about Hurricane Katrina in my last post, because soon after that, I received an e-mail from a friend of mine at work about the current state of affairs in North Queensland. She is moving up to Cairns in the next couple of weeks, and has friends in the region, so I believe her opinions and research are credible. I also think it's important to know what's going on, so I thought I would share her e-mail with you.

Hi All,

After Judith mentioned Hurricane Katrina, I just wanted to let you all know some facts about Cyclone Larry, as we really havent heard much about it in the News, and Im sure most of us assume that things are ok in Innisfail and the surrounds.

There are still 135000 houses without power - although I have spoken with ergon energy and they tell me they are trying their hardest to get as many as possible fixed by Easter

Many phone lines are still down, even as far up as Cairns Tafe and wont be fixed until mid April.

and just to make matters worse I have come across this article about tradesmen charging 3 times the regular amount.
Article from The Australian

I am sure that you all have heard about the Banana situation, but a few facts on that:
12000 ha of crops have been destroyed (90% of Australia's production)
The farmers were not able to insure crops due to a storm in the early 1990's, after this insurance companies stopped underwriting for crops.

Farmers will have no cash flow for at least 9 months, and their properties are "in the hands of banks"
more than 4000 people will be out of work, and for a region like Innisfail - that is a lot of people in a place where unemployment is already so high - most families would be moving and relocating to other towns such as Cairns.

Sugar Cane industry
Most insurance companies did not cover for cyclones.

So whilst we aren't on the same scale as Hurricane Katrina - it just shows that it can happen anywhere, and it wont be all fine after a week - although most news would have us thinking different as we havent read/seen anything about it recently

If your feeling generous the donation line is 1800150411

It's true that if something falls out of the headlines, and off the news pages altogether, it seems that people put it out of their minds and assume everything is okay. I have to admit I did too, and figured things were on track - but 135,000 homes still without power is pretty significant. I'm glad no lives were lost, but in other ways, people's lives have been completely destroyed by this.

On a related note, a recent episode of Media Watch highlighted a Miranda Divine opinion article in the SMH. I don't know whether she genuinely holds this opinion, or is doing it to gain attention, but either way I think it's pretty nasty!