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Last Updated: Tuesday March 21 2006 08:36 GMT

Australia begins cyclone clean-up

Man in his house after the roof blew off

Seven thousand people have been left homeless in Australia, after cyclone Larry ripped through Queensland, battering 200 miles of coastline.

No-one was seriously injured in the storm, but many people were forced to evacuate their homes when winds of up to 290km/h (180mph) ripped off roofs.

The cyclone also pulled up trees and downed power lines when it smashed into the town of Innisfail early on Monday.

Local officials have warned it could take some time for the area to recover.

The Australian army have begun taking aid into the area, as residents began picking up the pieces following the huge storm.

Map of the area

Queensland state leader Peter Beattie said food, clean water and power generators would be arriving in the devastated areas on Tuesday.

And tarpaulins are being brought in to cover houses which lost their roofs in the high winds.

Mr Beattie praised emergency services' response to the disaster, but warned the clean-up could cost millions and millions of dollars.


A ruined banana crop
A ruined banana crop

Around 80,000 homes were left without electricity following the storm, and it could be up to a week before power is restored.

Meanwhile those made homeless are staying in government-run shelters while water and sewage supplies are being fixed.

Australia's banana and sugar cane growers have also been hit hard by cyclone Larry, which wiped out entire fields of trees and plants.

The Australian Banana Growers' Council said 80 per cent of the country's banana crop has been destroyed, and 4,000 workers could lose their jobs.