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Tropical Cyclone Ita: Tourists, locals leave Port Douglas evacuation centre after waiting out storm

By Leonie Mellor, Saturday April 12, 2014 - 22:31 EST
ABC image
The Piner, Clark, Doherty and Berryman families at the Port Douglas evacuation centre. - ABC

The evacuation centre in Port Douglas has now reopened its doors sending home those who sought sanctuary.

Among them were 12 members of one extended family from Melbourne, including five children under seven.

They have been staying in Port Douglas to fulfil a promise to mother and sister, Mary Clark, who died of pancreatic cancer 12 months ago.

"We did promise her that we'd have this holiday so that's what we're doing,'' said family matriarch Tricia Berryman.

What they had not banked on was a cyclone.

"We felt with five young children [there would be] no cabin fever. They had plenty of room to move and the staff out here have been absolutely wonderful. They've got in and played with the kids."

Ms Clark was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Easter Saturday last year.

She told one of her daughters she wanted a big family holiday at Port Douglas but lived only 22 days.

Mrs Berryman said the trip had been very emotional for her and her two nieces, nephew and their families.

"It's been a wonderful holiday, even with the cyclone in the middle of it," she said.

Hamish Piner, 7, said spending the night in the evacuation centre had been "fun" and he had learnt a lot about cyclones.

"I know that the eye is very strong. And as it travels it gets weaker," he said.

He said he and his brother would have plenty of stories to tell their classmates when they go back to school, uncannily at St Ita's.


© ABC 2014

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