Broome in West-Australia has become a victim of cyclone Seroja, as supermarket shelves there are bare of fresh produce. Although Broome lies more than 1,300 km from the Seroja’s epicentre in Kalbarri, it has suffered from restricted freight movements due to flooded roads in the Pilbara and Kimberley. Supermarket chains Coles and Woolworths have promised to replenish depleted stock in their stores by Thursday afternoon.
Tropical Cyclone Seroja battered parts of Western Australia’s coast on Sunday night, badly damaging buildings and leaving thousands of people without power. While the full extent of the damage caused by the Category 3 system is not yet known, the event was unusual. A spokeswoman for Woolworths said emergency relief plans were now being enacted to ensure “key essentials” were being delivered. She added that deliveries were expected to arrive in Broome, Karratha, Derby and Port Headland on Thursday morning.
It’s unusual for a tropical cyclone to hit this far down the coast of WA, so the communities around Kalbarri and Northampton that were in the path, were not used to such conditions. Not being built to a cyclone rating to withstand such harsh conditions, structures such as shops, hotels and community facilities were decimated. At its worst Main Roads had 13 roads closed, most of those concentrated in the Mid West, Central Midlands and Northern Wheatbelt, as well as a big section of the Great Eastern Highway.
There was no flood damage to roads, with most closures being due to fallen trees and removing them was proving to be the biggest task for Main Roads in making the roads safe for travel again. Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Commissioner Dean Klem said volunteers from DFES and other State emergency services and Australian Defence Force personnel were deployed in affected areas assessing the damage and providing assistance. Companies have started to announce disaster relief packages, including Telstra.