Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Yasi devastates Cardwell -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

Yasi devastates Cardwell

Broadcast: 04/02/2011

Reporter: Paul Lockyer

Cyclone Yasi passed just north of the small town of Cardwell destroying many homes and businesses.


TRACY BOWDEN, PRESENTER: Almost forty eight hours after Cyclone Yasi shattered Queensland's north,
authorities are only now getting a sense of the true scale of devastation.

One of the hardest hit communities was Cardwell on the coast.

Cyclone Yasi passed just north of the small town, triggering a sea surge reaching 100 metres

The ABC's Paul Lockyer is in Cardwell and filed this report.

PAUL LOCKYER, REPORTER: Perhaps nothing sums up the power of this cyclone than these boats here in
this Marina. Huge boats picked up and just slammed against the sides; piled, boat upon boat. That's
the force of the wind and the water.

And right through here about 70 boats, including ketch, a 100 foot long ketch over there.

And some of those who witnessed the force of this gale here are Craig and Ellen-May Teitzel.

Craig, what was that like? You were sheltering in your supermarket.

CRAIG TEITZEL: Yeah Paul. It was that afternoon and the police asked us to evacuate the town and I
had been in contact with them and wished to stay in the store. It is a brand new building that we
only completed in May.

And we thought that that was safe option, cause I thought my commitment to the community would be
very important after the event. And so we sheltered in the supermarket and that night was a very
long night and ...

PAUL LOCKYER: Well what was it like?

CRAIG TEITZEL: Well the noise that is generated and the fear that creates cause of, you know, what
your mind starts thinking, what's going to happen to the building and all that sort of thing. It is
terrifying, we had our children with us and another family.

And when you make a decision like that you're responsible for your actions and so, you know, to see
the end of it was a huge relief to all of us.

ELLEN-MAY TEITZEL: We knew what to expect because we'd been through cyclones before, and lived here
all our lives.

But each stage I think you just fixiate a new plan, 'what are we going to do next?' So, ok, it's
about staying alive when you get down to it. And you just keep thinking, praying, laying there,
no-one talks much. You just lay and you know everyone's awake. I said 'Craig do you think we're
going to get out of this?'

CRAIG TEITZEL: Yeah it's a very, you know, it's a very emotional and hard time. You know, I know
Ellie and I were just laying there and all's you think is 'have I done the right thing by my
children by making this decision?'

And if I probably had the option again Paul I would, and most people who stayed in the town, if you
asked them if they had the option again, they would have moved on and gone inland a bit further.

Cause being a Category Five, I don't like, it's never been experienced in Australia for a cyclone
or a storm that long, let alone in other parts of the world.

PAUl LOCKYER: And Ellen-May when you saw the results of this massive storm what when through your
mind when you emerged from the supermarket?

ELLEN-MAY TEITZEL: It's like, 'is there life?' And you come out and there was no-one out, like
ghost-town, no-one left in the street.

Well there is no town, was no town. You know the water's been up and through it and it's like there
was no life and we got down here through, with a Four-wheel drive. We couldn't get to the house
over here, cause it was flooded.

But to see this just crossed through my mind was Phuket Tsunami meets New Orleans, that's all as I
could think.



PAUL LOCKYER: And Cardwell, the town, as you say, is just a ruin at the moment.


PAUL LOCKYER: But the images that seem to be gripping the nation are these boats here, piled one on
one. What does this tell you about the force of the wind and the water here?

CRAIG TEITZELL: Yeah well it's, water's one thing, we've seen through this year, that you can never
underestimate the force of water. When, like when we go, if we take the water equation out of it,
and we go up town and you go to back streets where you see just it's wind damage. It's a totally
different thing once you bring water into and they combine together. And you can see that along the
main street of Cardwell and along with what it's done in the marina here.

ELLEN-MAY TEITZELL: Well the world's just seen Grantham...

CRAIG TEITZELL: Yeah and that's water ...

ELLEN-MAY TEITZELL: ... and Towoomba.

CRAIG TEITZELL: and when you put them both together it's just ...


CRAIG TEITZELL: You know we're, it's just lucky.

We all live in a cyclone area so everything's insured, what we've lost is all material items, they
can be replaced. Ok it might put you a few years behind in your business or whatever else you have.
But, when you're sitting there at night time and it's actually happening all you're thinking about
is your family and all that's sort of thing.

So, you know, it is upsetting; we do become emotionally attached to our houses and our possessions,
but once they go 'that's happened and let's just move forward' and that's pretty relevant to the
shirt Ellie's got on.

PAUL LOCKYER: And is that right, never, never give up, Ellen-May?

ELLEN-MAY TEITZELL: Oh look, no-one wants to die and at that point that's all you think about. You
don't think about anything, you think about 'I hope mum and dad's alright' we all phoned, until we
had phones, 'I love you'. And the sister with the four little kids and baby and, you start thinking
of everyone else.

You don't think of yourself, you're thinking, that's who I was thinking about, was everyone else in
my family.

PAUL LOCKYER: How long for Cardwell bounce back from this one Craig?

CRAIG TEITZELL: Listen I think if you look back in a, it's, people are very resilient and I think
in a month's time, if you look back, and once the town's cleaned up and that, you know we'll be
right. She'll be right mate.