Monday, March 20, 2006

"I looked out at the weather and it was terrible"

Causing extensive damage as it hit the Queensland coast at Innisfail (south of Cairns; see the red pointer on the map below), Cyclone Larry is now making its way inlad over the Atherton Tablelands.

The satelite image from the Bureau of Meteorology website is certainly frightening, but looking at a map of the area and hearing the news on radio this morning has raised more cause for alarm: that part of Queensland's coast has many small towns and hamlets, all of whom would have suffered extensive damage from the cyclone.

There is more news at ABC Online here. There are calls for public support for the cyclone victims. Even as it is still unclear which non-governmental aid agencies are helping, generosity is still demanded of us. Though this doesn't mean we shouldn't be vigilant of which aid agencies we can really trust to get the urgent short-term and long-term rebuilding aid out to the remote communities – especially the Indigenous ones!

I was reminded of the quote from the Epic of Gilgamesh, the ancient Sumerian myth which has an incredible flood story, that Tim Flannery uses to start his chapter on rising ocean levels in The Weather Makers:
The evening came, the rider of the storm sent down rain. I looked out at the weather and it was terrible… With the first light of dawn a black cloud came from the horizon;… the God of the storm turned daylight into darkness.
No, I'm certainly NOT suggesting that Cyclone Larry was directly caused by Global warming and thus greenhouse gasses. I just find the parallels compelling.

Remember to think of the people in trouble.

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