On March 28, the largest cyclone in years struck northern Queensland, Australia. In the days that followed a vast area, almost the size of Texas, was flooded. Houses were washed away and at least three people died. Lizzie Richardson puts the event in an Australian perspective.
Photo: Igor Corovic / Shutterstock.com
‘I heard about the cyclone on the news and via twitter. Especially abroad I notice social media can reach you fast. As I am not from Queensland, the most discussed topic among my friends and family is the charity aid: how much should they donate? Clearly, the national government doesn’t have enough resources to cover the one billion dollar damage, so charity aid is needed. However, I feel that the current situation is not as alarming as with cyclone Yasi in 2011. It is severe, but still under control.
Cyclones like this one can be expected every year in northern Queensland, so once every few years a severe one will strike. When I was in the capital Brisbane myself, I saw that the city is vulnerable but well prepared. Overflow areas can be evacuated really fast and that is exactly what happened last week. The stereotype image that Australia is scarcely populated does not count for this region. Quite a lot of people are living close together and the infrastructure is built for that.
In a larger perspective, this cyclone illustrates the intensifying extreme weather in Australia. Where the cyclones are more frequent and intensive in the north-east, droughts are increasing in the south-west. This is likely to be linked to the hole in the ozone layer, which is repairing itself but is still there. The rest of the world may have forgotten about it, but for Australians it is still a reality.”