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Karratha faces a $6m clean-up bill after Tropical Cyclone Damien

By Susan Standen, Tuesday August 4, 2020 - 08:36 EST
ABC image
A playground in Dampier damaged by Tropical Cyclone Damien in February, 2020. - ABC

The cost of cleaning up after Tropical Cyclone Damien, which smashed into the Pilbara in February stands at $5 million for the City of Karratha — and the job is not over yet, say local authorities.



About $4 million has been spent on local suppliers to date, after the storm hit the region, including Port Hedland, Dampier and Karratha.

Karratha Mayor Peter Long, who authorised emergency funds to be spent on contractors, said it was difficult to know how much more it would cost. He said it could be up to $6 million.

Financial assistance was made available under the Federal Government's Disaster Recovery Funding arrangements to help with the cost of clean-up and repairs for the local government areas of East Pilbara, Karratha and Port Hedland after the cyclone.

Winds of 280km/h were clocked on the coast of Dampier, a level usually listed as a Category 5 level cyclone, although Cyclone Damien was Category 3.

About 200mm of rainfall fell in Karratha during the cyclone and some house roofs in Karratha, Point Samson, Dampier and Wickham were blown off.



"All the tradesmen are so busy with cyclone repairs, it's difficult to get contractors," Mr Long said.

COVID-19 intrastate restrictions have also slowed down repairs as contractors from Perth need to come north through intrastate borders to meet the demand.

Significant damage caused to property and public infrastructure also affected the capacity of city staff to continue with day-to-day operations.



National parks hit

Earthmoving equipment has been deployed, but that has been slowed by the need to wait for roads to dry out before working on them.

When the cyclone moved inland it also caused damage to national parks with the Millstream National Park pathway closed since February.

The Dampier youth play space is still closed for repairs and signs around Karratha and the airport as well as traffic and ranger signs have all had to be replaced.



Cricket nets, fences, handrails, poolside doors, gates, flyscreens, lighting and water infrastructure have all had to be replaced or repaired.

Karratha's iconic palm trees have had to be trimmed and geotextile works and electrical works repaired.

Even Dampier's BOM radar went flying and the BOM has been looking for it ever since.


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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