Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam flew into the cyclone damaged northern city of Darwin on Saturday (28 December) and after a tour of the devastated area said it was clear many of the city's buildings erected after the cyclone in 1937 were unsuitable for a cyclone belt.
GV Prime Minister's motorcade along wrecked streets (2 shots)
SV PM arrives at airport and enters airport building (2 shots)
SV Mr. Whitlam walks over and talks to refugees (2 shots)
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Background: Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam flew into the cyclone damaged northern city of Darwin on Saturday (28 December) and after a tour of the devastated area said it was clear many of the city's buildings erected after the cyclone in 1937 were unsuitable for a cyclone belt.
Mr. Whitlam also talked with some of the thousands of people waiting at the airport to be flown south in a massive airlift.
It was estimated that by Saturday evening nearly half of Darwin's 40,000 people had left the city. The population will be reduced to 10,000 by the new year. Forty-seven people were killed, 300 injured and 100 are still missing after the disaster.
During his visit Mr. Whitlam repeated his government's pledge that Darwin will be rebuilt as Australia's northern gateway for aircraft and ships.
SYNOPSIS: Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam toured the cyclone-ravaged city of Darwin on Australia's northern coast on Saturday. Mr. Whitlam said he was heart-broken when he was damage caused by cyclone Tracy on Christmas Day. He'd cut short a five-week visit to Europe when he learned of the disaster.
He later told newsmen it was clear many of Darwin's houses built since the last major cyclone in 1937, were unsuitable for a cyclone area. He repeated his pledge that the city would be rebuilt as an important australian aviation and shipping gateway, after the disaster that left forty-seven people dead, three hundred injured and one hundred missing.
The city's population is being thinned down to about ten thousand by the New Year. This is a quarter of its normal size. A major airlift is under way to fly the evacuees south. All available civil and military aircraft are taking part.
Many people who were awaiting flights made their way to the airport buildings and Mr. Whitlam spoke to some of them.
During his stay in Darwin Mr. Whitlam was briefed on present water, food and medical supplies, mopping up operations, plans for rebuilding and the immediate needs of the thousands still left among the wreckage.