Northern Territory’s coastal residents find homes still standing after Cyclone Trevor

Posted March 28, 2019 11:14:49

Life is slowly returning to normal in coastal communities along the Territory’s gulf in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Trevor.

Key points:

  • The 2,500 Territorians evacuated from coastal Gulf communities last week are returning home
  • The NT Chief Minister says it is “incredible” that infrastructure damage is relatively minor
  • He says he does not yet know how much the evacuation effort cost

The category four system brought winds of up to 250 kilometres per hour to the region on Saturday, and forced the evacuations of thousands of people.

But school has already gone back in Borroloola, although it’s missing many teachers and pupils, who are still making their way back to the community.

Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner yesterday took a first-hand look at the scene and was impressed by what he saw.

While there were a lot of fallen trees in the region, the damage to infrastructure was minimal.

Survey teams have now covered over 40,000 square kilometres of the Territory since Trevor to assess the damage, which is mostly in unpopulated areas.

“It is incredible that we didn’t suffer more structural damage,” Mr Gunner said.

“An extraordinary amount of work has been done to assess the condition of the NT, and it’s remarkable how well Groote, Numbulwar, Borroloola and Robinson River has come through this event.”

‘It’s all good now’

Virginia Nundhirribala was among those evacuated ahead of the cyclone. She has now returned to her Numbulwar home.

“Yeah it’s all good now. Everything’s back to normal now and everyone’s real happy to be back home,” said Ms Nundhirribala.

Like most people, her house came out relatively unscathed.

“We came back, I saw it was very good, nothing happened, nothing destroyed,” said Ms Nundhirribala.

A general store in Borroloola had to throw out more than $20,000 worth of food when the cyclone caused the power to go out.

“It’s been a tough ask but we didn’t jeopardise anyone’s health and safety. Everything’s been dumped and everything’s replenished,” the store’s operations manager Wayne Martin said.

He flew in to help get the shop open again.

“Anyone you’re taking to, they just want to muck in, they just want to help,” Mr Martin said.

“That’s what you want, small community in the bush.”

The store’s manager, Greg Sneath, said he looked forward to getting “all the locals coming back into the community, buying food and being happy”.

‘I haven’t got the invoice yet’

While the total cost of the evacuation and clean-up process is not yet known, Mr Gunner said what was important was that no lives were lost.

“It’s really important that while always being cognisant of cost, you just get people out and get them to safety,” said Mr Gunner.

“I don’t have yet the quote in for what the fuel bill will be, but we obviously couldn’t have done this without Defence — an extraordinary amount of work.

“I haven’t got the invoice yet.”

Topics: cyclone, weather, cyclones, disasters-and-accidents, community-and-society, government-and-politics, borroloola-0854, numbulwar-0852, nt

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