Cyclone Yasi hits Queensland’s coast
03 February 2011in Queensland, Australia
"It was like having big jet engines outside your house.” reports a local inhabitant, when the terrifying cyclone Yasi hit the north-east coast of Australia. In the early morning, it slammed into the mainland near the tourist destination Mission Beach north of the federal capital Brisbane with winds up to 290 kilometers per hour. Anna Bligh, the head of government of Queensland, defined the tropical tempest, which is rated as category 5 – the highest rank – on the Australian cyclone-scale, as the most fatal storm since 1918.
The detriments are terrific: Houses and roofs are damaged, trees are knocked down, telephone and power lines are disrupted. But owing to well-developed contingency plans no reports of dead or injured people have occurred so far, also because residents got evacuated to provisional camps along the beach. However the most significant impact will be on the economy: About 15% of Australia’s sugar cane crops were destroyed by the storm. Moreover many banana plantations are devastated and therefore prices of these natural goods have already rocketed enormously.
Yasi, which has nearly the size of Italy, rampages in the southern hemisphere since weeks. Starting as a category 3 cyclone, its force has increased massively. It is comparable with the Hurricane Katrina, which caused disastrous damages in the south of the United States. Luckily Queensland is much less dense populated and therefore the chance that the tempest hits a big city is consequently lower.
Unfortunately the natural disaster is not finished yet. Experts expect giant waves up to 7 meters, flooding and further damages on buildings, infrastructure and environment. Yasi is the latest natural catastrophe in Australia. Two months of rain and floods have shattered the country seriously, 35 people died and costs of 5.6 bn. USD incurred because of the natural forces.