The Townsville Alluvium office has been closed for a few days whilst the after effects of cyclone Yasi are being dealt with. The day before Yasi, the local council issued storm surge maps and evacuated all residents from low lying areas, a total of 60,000 people are told to move.
Five of those spent the next 36 hours at my house, which was above the storm surge level. Living in the tropics we are supposed to be prepared for cyclones which we were to an extent but there’s nothing like a category 5 system on its way to focus the mind! So, there were four adults (including three Alluvium staff) and two children sheltering in the house for the duration. It was a wild time alright with 25 hours of cyclonic winds including 9 hours over 100 km/h and four of those over 135 km/h according to the Bureau of Meteorology
. We were lucky to be one of the few suburbs to maintain power so we were able to monitor Yasi’s progress all night as none of us slept much...even though we had our emergency shelter at the ready if the roof went.
Our emergency shelter - the dining table in the bathroom!
The result the following day was: 120,000 residences without power (25,000 of which are still without power 6 days later); 63,000 trees down across Townsville (according to council) with 10 million m3 of green waste to be gathered and disposed of (council are currently making 1 million m3 of mulch).
Some of us will be volunteering with the clean-up in the coming days and weeks. Still, we got off lightly compared to towns further north at Tully, Mission beach and others and our thoughts are with them.