Home > Features > Mighty winds fuel spirit

Mighty winds fuel spirit

A house opposite Tully Uniting Church. Photo by Bruce Cornish
CYCLONE YASI tore its way through North Queensland in February but with it came a tide of community spirit and strength.
North Queensland Presbytery Minister, Rev Bruce Cornish, has been travelling throughout North Queensland to examine the damage from floods and cyclone Yasi to Uniting Church properties and uphold Uniting Church people as well as the community.

Mr Cornish said the communities of Cardwell and Tully, which bore the brunt of the Category 5 cyclone’s fury, may be without power for four to six weeks.

“These areas are very much a disaster zone,” he said.

“There is a great deal of work still to be done there and with the army now having withdrawn there are fewer people to do the work.”

On Sunday 13 February the Tully congregation shared a service of reflection and sharing before joining many others in the
Tully community for a combined service of thanksgiving at the Catholic Church followed by a community BBQ provided by the army.

“It was an important time but there is still a great deal to do,” said Mr Cornish.

“In fact much of the clean up has halted until asbestos experts come in to give guidance on clean up safety.”

Meetings of ministry agents have been held in various parts of North Queensland and Mr Cornish said they have been a
time of reflection and sharing.

“We also held the Northern Zone meeting at Malanda on Saturday where all present had an opportunity to share their experiences of the cyclone,” he said.

All towns in Yasi’s path have extensive tree damage and many houses have leaking roofs or broken windows from flying debris.

Mr Cornish was aware of damage to Uniting Churches in Aitkenvale, Mission Beach, Tully, Ingham, Townsville, Cairns and Wulguru, mostly roof damage.

The John Flynn residentialcollege at James Cook University, Townsville, was used as a last minute evacuation centre.

Mr Cornish also commended Blue Care staff who evacuated 100-plus residents of Townsville’s Garden Settlement Aged Care Facility and continued to care for them for three days at a nearby school.

Blue Care Residential Services Director Richard Olley also praised staff.

“This would have to be one of the biggest evacuations Blue Care has seen in recent times and the brilliant team work, headed by Blue Care North Queensland Residential Care Manager Sandra Glaister, has been outstanding,”
he said.

“Our hats go off to staff and residents who handled this disaster so admirably.”

The clean up of the year’s events will take time and local churches will continue to need support and prayer in the coming year.

Photo : A house opposite Tully Uniting Church. Photo by Bruce Cornish