The wet season has hit Darwin, the northern Australian city destroyed by a cyclone last Christmas.
The wet season has hit Darwin, the northern Australian city destroyed by a cyclone last Christmas. Ten inches of rain have fallen in the last few days, and the worst of the rainy season is to come. The heavy rain has severely hampered rebuilding operations and many of the hoes which had a chance of being repaired are being ruined as the soaking rain gushes through destroyed roofs.
Early surveys have shown that nine thousand homes were destroyed by Cyclone Tracy .. that's three quarters of the city's housing. There are ten thousand people living in the remains of the city at the moment. That figure represents those who remained after the disaster and the several thousand civilian volunteers and naval seamen helping with the weatherproofing programme. So far 650 homes have been weatherproofed, but there are still 2,300 without roofs.
Darwin usually gets its wet season late in November and it lasts until the end of March. There was little rain before Cyclone Tracy struck and indications are that the heaviest falls are yet to come.
Commercial life in slowly returning to the city. More banks and shops are opening each day with household goods the main requisites.
The rebuilding programme is being helped by some 1200 seamen from 12 navel vessels anchored in the harbour. The largest of these is the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne from which helicopters run a shuttle service with building supplies.