Posts Tagged ‘Cyclone Yasi’

At $3 each, are these the most expensive bananas in the world?

Ask any Australian when they last ate a banana and I bet they’d be hard pressed to tell you.

It’s not because they don’t like them – they do – it’s because I don’t think they would remember when they were last able to afford to buy them.

I snapped this market stall this morning in central Sydney selling bananas for $3 each (approx GBP2). Not $3 a kilo. Or $3 for a bunch. That’s $3 for each individual banana!

Unfortunately, the price of bananas has been this high all year. Most Aussies are sympathetic to the pricing because they know it’s because so many crops were destroyed during Cyclone Yasi in Queensland at the beginning of the year.

Not only that, but Australia won’t replace the destroyed crops by importing from overseas. There are very strict quarantine restrictions in place, particularly around fruit coming into the country (I nearly faced a $300 fine at the airport for forgetting I had an apple in my bag once).

The good news is, prices are at last expected to fall in September. I expect they’ll be flying off the shelves.

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Before my travels around Oz, I had no idea that in 1974 a devastating cyclone decimated the northern city of Darwin.

Cyclone Tracy wiped out 75 per cent of homes in the area and killed 65 people. At the Museum of the Northern Territory, on the outskirts of Darwin’s CBD, there is a fantastic exhibition dedicated to Cyclone Tracy, full of newspaper articles, news broadcasts, photographs and even pieces of peoples’ homes and street furniture which were rescued from the debris.

You can step into a special recreation of the cyclone, standing in a room which jerks violently from side to side as a recording of Tracy is played at loud volume. I found it a pretty eerie and frightening exhibition and it really brought to life the terror and devastation of a cyclone.

Tonight, thousands will live through that experience for real when Cyclone Yasi hits the northern part of Queensland overnight. What’s most terrifying is that Yasi is now classified as a category 5 cyclone – Tracy was an upper category 4. Yasi is likely to have winds of around 300kmh, whereas Tracy had winds of about 217kmh. Yasi has an estimated spread of around 800km, whereas Tracy was much smaller in comparison.

Having seen the devastation caused by Tracy, albeit at an exhibition, it’s still hard to comprehend that the potential of Yasi is so much worse. Tragically however, it’s becoming pretty clear the state is likely to experience the worst cyclone in the whole of Australian history.

Image of a cyclone

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