Tropical Cyclone Yasi may be past history for most, but the
impact of this devastating event is still a reality for many north
In Cardwell, for example, students at the local school are being
closely monitored for ongoing effects of trauma. Thanks to P&C
committee president, David Mair, you can help children continue to
recover by purchasing a DVD, which was launched in July 2012.
Children who lived through the terror of Cyclone Yasi have been
diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, while others are at
risk of developing the mental illness.
Almost 18 months after the monster category five storm lashed
the North Queensland coast, pyschologists have warned that children
were still reliving the nightmare they endured as they bunkered
down over the night of February 2-3, 2011.
In Cardwell, at least one in three children have been identified
as at risk of developing PTSD, resulting in implementation of a
counselling program used to help children after the 2009 Victorian
"Some of these children saw horrific things," Cardwell State
School principal Brigitte Mackenzie said.
Townsville psychologist Rosanna Tremewan said children who had
been through trauma risked developing PTSD as, unlike adults, they
cannot "reason" their way out of the worrying thoughts they are
experiencing. "Adults can make sense of trauma, but kids don't have
those skills," she said.
Ms Tremewan said children needed stability in their lives to
function at a normal level. An event like Category 5 Cyclone Yasi
removed that stability and turned young lives upside down,
particularly in the worst-affected towns of Cardwell, Tully and
Mission Beach, where homes and belongings were destroyed. "They
need that stability of school, friends and home life. This helps
them develop and get on with their lives," Ms Tremewan said.
She said the slow pace of recovery after the cyclone in towns
north of Townsville would have meant that children were, and in
many cases still are, walking past houses that were blown down in
the cyclone. Seeing those broken houses, the polytarp on the roofs
and the trees with the shattered branches served as a constant
reminder of the cyclone.
"Kids need predictability. They need routine in their lives.
When they lose it they become anxious. It means they have to learn
a new set of rules and this in itself produces anxiety," she
The school is still closely monitoring students and offering
extra counselling to students before their condition worsens.
P&C committee president David Mair this week launched a
three-and-a-half hour DVD at the school entitled Yasi - Reflections
of a Monster, in a bid to help young minds heal.
It features some 20,000 photographs highlighting the destruction
Yasi wrought in Townsville, Cardwell and Tully.
The DVD costs $20 with proceeds used for children's counselling
and funds for the school. Contact Mr Mair on email@example.com for a