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Cyclone Trevor's stranded pets survive as evacuees start to return home

By Felicity James, Carmen Brown and Matt Garrick, Monday March 25, 2019 - 13:58 EDT
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Rural and remote animal management expert Dr Jan Allen said all pets assessed so far are "happy and healthy". - ABC

Around 2,000 pets were left behind during the mass evacuation operation triggered by severe tropical Cyclone Trevor, and vets are now travelling through remote Territory areas to assess how the animals have fared.



Hundreds of evacuees from remote towns and communities across the western edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria were forced to flee their homes as Cyclone Trevor battered the coast as a category four system over the weekend.

With Trevor now downgraded to a tropical low and moving further inland, vets have been able to check the health of pet dogs, cats and horses following the storm, and evacuees have started to return home from temporary shelters set up in Katherine and Darwin.

"There's some very happy dogs out there," Roper Gulf acting CEO Sharon Hillen told ABC Local Radio.

"Everything seems to be okay — they're very resilient animals obviously," she said.



"I've just spoken to the vets this morning, and they've done most of Borroloola, and they're about to go out to Robinson River to see what's going on out there."

Vets have been going from house to house in Borroloola, assessing the welfare of domestic animals before evacuees from the township return.

Residents locked pets indoors with sufficient food

Incident Controller Matt Hollamby has confirmed the Carpentaria Highway is now open, meaning Borroloola residents can begin the long journey back.

The small community of Robinson River — which was in the path of the severe cyclone and wind gusts up to 250 kilometres per hour — remains without access.



Those forced to flee had been urged to lock their pets indoors with sufficient food — a stopgap which appears to have proved successful.

"[The vets are] basically feeding and watering them as they go," said Ms Hillen.

"[They're] suggesting that none of the animals look like they've had any suffering at all.

"They might be a little bit hungry, and they've got bulk food out there to feed them."

Over the weekend, Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities program manager Dr Jan Allen said of the communities that had been assessed, "we are pleased to report all animals remaining in these communities are happy and healthy".

Buses leave Katherine, homeward bound

Residents across the region are now being repatriated to their communities following the biggest mass evacuation operation since Cyclone Tracy.

Groote Eylandt in the Gulf of Carpentaria, which was the first area to be evacuated, yesterday welcomed 275 residents after they flew back to the island.



Of the 400 people evacuated from Katherine, Ngukurr residents have been told they can return home, and the first buses taking Numbulwar residents home left the Katherine showgrounds evacuation centre on Monday morning.

The buses will drive to Ngukurr, where it is expected residents will then be flown into their community.

Some people missed the buses this morning because they have been staying with family in Katherine, while others have decided to drive to Ngukurr themselves.

"They'll be actually be driven by bus to Ngukkur, and then actually flown from Ngukkur to their community," said NT Police Acting Superintendent Dave Moore.

"The issue we've been having is that obviously the road is closed between Numbulwar and Ngukkur. And that's obviously been affected by flooding."



Minor stock deaths in Barkly



Cattle producers will continue assessing infrastructure and livestock damage after some reports of stock deaths caused by ex-Cyclone Trevor.

Minor stock losses of between 15 to 20 cattle have been reported on several stations in the northern Barkly district, after strong winds and heavy rains lashed the region during Cyclone Trevor on Saturday night.

Among the properties in the direct path of the cyclone was Creswell Downs, where more than 160 millimetres of rain has fallen over the past 48 hours.

Owner Adrian Brown said a small number of cattle perished in the wet and windy conditions, but aerial checks would continue to ensure further losses were prevented.

The ex-cyclone is expected to continue tracking south throughout the day.


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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