Lockdown prevents Cyclone Yasi deaths

 Lockdown prevents Cyclone Yasi deaths

Cyclone Yasi has passed through the state of Queensland leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

However, a string of advanced warnings saw residents batten down ahead of impact, with no death or serious injuries reported.

The coastal towns of Tully, Mission Beach, and Cardwell all saw hundreds of houses destroyed, as 190mph winds lashed the region.

However, the cities of Cairns and Townsville appear to have escaped relatively unscathed, with minimal damage reported.

Queensland premier Anna Bligh said: “I am very relieved this morning, but I do stress these are very early reports.

“It is a long way to go before I say we have dodged any bullets.”

Up to 10,000 people remain in shelters in the cities with further high winds expected.

Yasi continues to make progress across the state

Government Response

Australian prime minister Julia Gillard said Queensland had been braced for the cyclone.

“Even as we worried about fellow Australians facing danger and very, very frightening hours I think at the same time we knew that they were facing that danger with courage, and that they were well prepared,” she explained.

Ms Gillard went on to add victims of Yasi would be exempt from a federal flood levy introduced following recent flooding.

Government Disaster Recovery Payments would also be made available to people in areas affected by the cyclone, with the government racing to open Centrelink offices to administer the scheme.

Damage Evaluation

The full scale of damage caused is not yet known, as power and phone lines are cut in some areas.

At least 180,000 homes are without electricity; relief workers are using heavy equipment to cut through fallen trees and debris.