It appears that Cyclone Yasi has destroyed the entire Australian banana crop, cultivated in North Queensland. Reports are that two thirds of the sugar crop have also been destroyed.
Cyclone Yasi, rated at category five level, crossed the North Queensland coast at midnight AEST on Wednesday 2nd February. Despite winds of 290kph it appears at this early stage that there has been no loss of life. In comparison similar rated Hurricane Catrina took 1836 lives.
Towns in the immediate path of the Cyclone have suffered significant devastation to property and infrastucture. The town of Tully is littered with debris and residents are braced for heartbreaking scenes at first light.
The main city of Cairns appears to have \’dodged the bullet\’ with Yasi taking a shift south just before crossing the coast. Police who conducted minimal patrols during the tempest say damage appears to be minimal.
\”There\’s no major structural damage, just vegetational,\” a spokesman for Cairns Regional Council Mayor Val Schier.
175,000 people in Northern Queensland are without power and the mobile telephone network has been seriously affected.
Downgraded to a category 3 Cycolne Yasi continues to move inland from the Coast. The mining town of Mt Isa some 450 kilometres from the Coast is expected to be hit by Yasi later today. Now that is something not many residents would have expected.
The economic and social affect on the State of Queensland will take week to access. Inland rural communities will not be reached for days and the full extent of damage to agriculture will become obvious in the days to come. Having just suffered the largest floods in centuries the State has now had the most severe cyclone ever recorded in the state and country\’s history.
No information is currently available on damage which may have been cause to University partner James Cook University which has campuses in both Cairns and Townsville.