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Christmas Island escapes major damage as Tropical Cyclone Gillian moves away from community

Sunday March 23, 2014 - 12:49 EDT

Christmas Island residents are assessing the damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which battered the island yesterday.

The category one cyclone brought heavy rainfall and wind gusts of up to 96 kilometres an hour to the small island community, lifting roofs and bringing down trees and powerlines.

However, conditions have eased today as the cyclone moves away from the island.

The island's administrator, Jon Stanhope, says while one family home had to be evacuated, most buildings survived largely intact.

"Just the one family, a couple and their three children that have been evacuated from their home," he said.

"[It is] a heritage-listed home, and the damage to that is very severe and it must be heart breaking for them, but the others that have suffered damage have been able to remain in their homes.

"A number of other homes lost part of their roofs. There's been some water damage but the physical damage has been fairly well restricted to a relatively small number of homes."

The damaged property was one of three heritage-listed stately homes on the island. It was built in the 1930s for a phosphate mine manager.

The attached restaurant had only been refurbished three months ago, and is one of only four on the island, Mr Stanhope said.

Linda Paterson from the Bureau of Meteorology said residents could expect calmer conditions as the cyclone moves away from the island.

"Overnight on Sunday the cyclone should be moving far enough away that conditions should start to ease," she said.


© ABC 2014

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