Mixed emotions as event marks Yasi anniversary
On February 3 last year, the biggest cyclone in memory smashed into the Far North Queensland coast. Residents lost their homes, farmers lost their crops and businesses lost their livelihoods. How is the impact zone faring one year on? Meet the battered bu
LEONE Lyon has not picked a single banana since cyclone Yasi devastated the family's crops almost a year ago. Plus Yasi anniversary video reports.
The Ingham mother-of-three had been picking her last crop the day before the category 5 storm hit.
"We had a lot damage, both our sugar cane and banana crops were down, with no water or power at home for six weeks," she said.
"It’s been very hard this past year but we’re surviving – we’re Queenslanders, mate."
The same spirit was shared by up to 600 people who met for a community day and barbecue at Cardwell on Saturday, to reflect on their journey through hardship.
"It was a lovely time, with great music and really great for the kids and whole community," Mrs Lyon said.
Deputy Prime Minister Wayne Swan, Premier Anna Bligh and Opposition Leader Campbell Newman are also expected to visit the region this week for the first anniversary on Friday of cyclone Yasi.
Co-ordinator Neville Giggo said Saturday’s community event was filled with mixed emotions.
"It brought a few tears out as a lot of people saw photos that reminded them of it all but we’re looking forward and the day was really like a big party," he said.
Emergency service crews attended, along with representatives of the Cassowary Coast Regional Council and local businesses.
Cassowary Coast Mayor Bill Shannon said the rebuilding effort helped pull the region to its feet.
"We’re getting there on almost every count and are ahead when compared to recovery after cyclone Larry," he said.
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Community spirit: At Cardwell's Yasi anniversary barbecue on Saturday are (from left) James Barber, Emma Pascoe, James Sterckx and Dales Whyte. Pictures: BRENDAN FRANCIS