SERAFINA SALUCCI : Which emergency services responded to the disaster? If so, who was involved? What did they do?
JOHN SPENCER: There are many organizations that responded to the disaster. From 2-14 February the Australia Defence Force provided a huge amount of support. This support included 3300 ration packs, 75 tonnes of stores, removing debris from about 420 km of road, removing 150 tonnes of debris from households, and much, much more. The Navy, Army and Australian air force also helped. The Red Cross was also a major organisation that helped in the event of Cyclone Yasi. For one year the Red Cross staff and volunteers supported more than 16,000 people. The Red Cross relies mostly on donations from both the government and people.
SERAFINA SALUCCI : Did any other organisations help? How?
JOHN SPENCER: Yes, there are several other organisations that helped. One is the Salvation Army Disaster Relief Assistance. Twelve case-workers assessed and distributed assistance to people in need. By 13 June 12,200 people have been helped. The $23.2 million given by Australians funded this. 200,000 meals and drinks were provided at 25 disaster zones. 1000 people were fed per day. More than 1000 people a day were fed.
SERAFINA SALUCCI : Did the community have water, power and/or communication during, and/or immediately after, the event?
JOHN SPENCER: The community did not have any power during the cyclone, and also did not have any power for one month after. More than 170,000 people did not have power immediately after Cyclone Yasi struck. Hundreds of power lines have fallen. Also, communication networks were strongly affected. More than 15,000 landline phones were out of services. A few phone centres, and 450 network sites were closed as well. Due to power failures, there was no clean water for up to 15 hours after Cyclone Yasi subsided. After 15 hours, some water supplies were recovered, but the water from the taps was still discoloured due to low amounts of water in resouvir . The water was recommended for personal or household use only.
SERAFINA SALUCCI : How many people were affected by the disaster?
JOHN SPENCER: Up to 40,000 people were in the path of Cyclone Yasi, while thousands of people are in evacuation centres. Of these 40,000 people, many farmer’s crops were affected, with banana growers only left with 25% of their original crops and sugar growers left with 80% of their original crops. This also may mean that other people who buy bananas or sugar may expect price rises.
SERAFINA SALUCCI : What services and help did people need? How long did they need this for?
JOHN SPENCER: There are many help and services that people struck by Cyclone Yasi needed. One important thing they needed was electricity. Electricity is needed to power many things, such as a radio to computers and televisions. So, without electricity they couldn’t do much. Many people also needed help cleaning up debris. The cleanup...